The Missouri Senate approved a budget proposal the past week that will increase funding for older Missourians who suffer with debilitating physical impairments and chronic medical conditions. The additional financial aid would help pay for the highly specialized 24-hour nursing home services required for daily survival.

The Senate increased the House Medicaid funding proposal for nursing home services provided to medically vulnerable seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. The increase will help offset the 3.5 percent cut to nursing home care that took place last July.

There are an estimated 24,000 medically vulnerable Missourians who depend on Medicaid to help pay for their care. The Missouri Health Care Association said there has been a crisis in the state in this funding issue and it is glad to see that the lawmakers recognized it.

The governor’s budget actions last July resulted in the deepest cuts to service provided to seniors, veterans and people with disabilities since the adoption of the Medicaid program. State general revenue now only pays an average of $15.26 per person per day for care. That represents a $25 per day shortfall, making it impossible to properly provide the 24/7 specialized care for these citizens.

The House and Senate must now meet in a conference committee to work out funding differences in the budget bills. We hope they can agree on the need to increase funding.