An attempt to restore about $35 million in funding for in-home health care and nursing home services for elderly and disabled Missourians failed Wednesday.
State lawmakers gathered in Jefferson City to override Gov. Eric Greitens’ veto of a bill that would have swept various state accounts for unspent funds to cover the deficiency caused by cuts in the 2018 state budget.
Even though the bill had strong bipartisan support, Greitens vetoed it in May, saying it was a “fake fix to a real problem.”
Greitens got the second part right. The in-home service cuts impact about 8,000 of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.
Those impacted will have to forego the medical services or seek other alternatives for the care they were receiving in their homes. That could lead to the state paying more money in the long term for hospital and nursing home care reimbursement.
Lawmakers understand this calculus. Paying for home care is a cheaper option that paying for nursing home care or for hospital visits for seniors.
It’s a smarter and more cost-effective way to provide these services because it allows seniors to remain in their homes longer. It offers them independence, security and a measure of dignity.
That’s why legislators scrambled at the end of last session to come up with an emergency fix. They know what’s at stake.
But when it came to overriding the governor’s veto, they failed to muster the necessary votes. The veto override, led by Democrats, failed by a 49-106 vote. Republicans chose not to buck the governor even though the money was in the treasury.
After the failed override attempt, Republican leaders pledged to find a more responsible way to restore funding for in-home care over the next few weeks. They called it a “top priority” for the General Assembly.
It is a top priority. We just hope lawmakers are serious about finding a solution.