Senator Dan Brown’s Legislative Column

brownCurrently, there is a looming problem for 8,000 low-income, elderly and disabled Missourians who require in-home or nursing care. These citizens are currently without their much needed care, because of the Legislature’s failure to restore, or create a funding avenue, for the Missouri Senior Services Protection Fund.

During the 2017 Legislative Session I fought to pass HCB 3 in order to restore cuts to Medicaid providers. The cuts were restored and the budget was balanced when it left the Senate. During budget negotiations the funds were taken out of the budget.  I then began working to change HCB 3 to do a funds sweep of large account balances in various state accounts to restore the cuts. In the final weeks of the legislative session, the House and Senate came to an agreement in HCB 3 and passed it. However, despite our efforts, the governor vetoed the legislation.

We are now at a point where a solution needs to be found and implemented. Currently in the state’s budget for the upcoming year there is a $200 million surplus “reserved” for supplemental budget items to help cover shortfalls in the budget, or for emergencies. Certain programs have to be funded and when their expenditures exceed their original budgeted amount, the state uses the funds reserved for the supplemental budget items to cover the difference. Programs like Medicaid and the Foundation Formula must be funded. While the funds for the supplemental budget items are to be used in this way, these funds have been used in emergency situations such as recovery efforts following the 2011 tornado that devastated Joplin. The funds can be used to help fund programs that are vital to Missourians, as in using these funds for supplemental budget items to help with disaster recovery.

In order to help the 8,000 Missourians suffering from this situation, I propose transferring $100 million from the state’s current budget reserved for emergencies to the Senior Services Protection Fund to cover the much needed care for these Missourians. While unclear, it seems as though to make this happen there would have to be legislative action. This, however, would just be a one-time fix to the problem.

Leadership in both chambers have established a work group tasked with finding a funding solution that will preserve the much needed in-home and nursing care for more than 8,000 disabled Missourians. Also to be considered is restoring provider rate cuts including cuts to private duty nurses who administer in-home neonatal care. Lawmakers who are part of the group have been asked to have a plan drafted in the next several weeks. It is my hope that after a plan is developed, we can begin work to implement the plan as soon as possible.

Always feel free to contact me throughout the year with any comments, questions, or issues by calling my office at (573) 751-5713 or by visiting my website at

Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.