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Pastors, workers, business leaders plead for Medicaid expansion

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Missouri lawmakers are hearing pleas from low-income workers, business leaders and pastors to expand Medicaid coverage.

Witness testifying Tuesday before a House committee want lawmakers to expand Medicaid eligibility to adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — nearly $33,000 for a family of four. States that do so can receive billions of additional federal dollars under President Barack Obama's health care law.

Several people told lawmakers they are living in poverty yet don't qualify for Missouri's current Medicaid program. As a result, they said they can't get the care they need for lingering health problems.

Pastors said Medicaid expansion is a moral imperative. Business leaders said it could help the economy.

But Missouri's Republican-led Legislature has so far rejected Medicaid expansion, citing concerns about future costs.

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