Mo. lawmakers rework budget, discuss fate of blind pension fund

Apr 11, 2012

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have crafted a proposal designed to preserve funding for blind pensions.

The plan announced by Senate Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer would use 18 million in federal Medicaid dollars to create a new blind pension health care fund.

“We’re going to add language that everyone in that program has to go through Medicaid eligibility, so that we determine who is Medicaid eligible and who’s not…that’s the first threshold…the second is we’re going to put in language to establish a premium,” Schaefer said.

Blind recipients deemed non-Medicaid eligible would still be covered, but would have to pay monthly premiums of around 111 dollars, make co-pays and would have to meet an annual 600-dollar deductible. 

Schaefer says those additions would generate the remaining 10 million dollars to keep the blind pension program fully funded. 

The Missouri House has proposed eliminating the program and diverting its 28-million-dollar budget to Higher Education.