JEFFERSON CITY • More than 63,000 Missourians could gain access to a state prescription drug assistance program that expired last year.
In action Thursday, the Missouri Senate voted 30-1 in favor of restoring the MORx program to people earning between 85 percent and 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
The program, which offers a 50 percent reduction in drug costs, was not renewed last year in a money-saving maneuver.
Estimates show it will cost $11.8 million to cover the recipients in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, who chairs the Senate budget committee, said it was too early to tell if the House would get on board with the plan as the budgeting process moves forward.
But, in a signal that social service programs may again be squeezed by sluggish revenue growth, a House budget panel heard testimony Wednesday about a plan to save $1 million by cutting off assistance to certain blind people.
The sponsor of the MORx legislation said he is hopeful the measure makes it to Gov. Eric Greitens’ desk.
“I think we need to treat our senior citizens a little better,” said Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville.
According to data collected by the state, more than 6,400 residents in St. Louis city and county lost the benefit. In St. Charles County, about 1,495 people were affected. Nearly 2,200 lost the benefit in Franklin County, while 1,534 lost access to the program in Jefferson County.
Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, cast the lone “no” vote.
The legislation is Senate Bill 563.