SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Freshman lawmaker Melanie Stinnett is hoping to expand on a current program. 

“House Bill 970 is the ticket to work health insurance program. This is a bill that increases the opportunity for individuals with disabilities to make more money while still maintaining some of their Medicaid benefits.” State Representative Stinnett said. 

The proposal would raise the federal poverty limit to keep people from losing benefits. 

“If they were offered a raise at work, or if they were offered a promotion at work, they would hopefully not have to deny that raise or deny that promotion,” Stinnett said.  

People including Annette Rhine and Jason Ginn, who work a few hours at Arc of the Ozarks. 

“I make donuts, coffee, Italian cream sodas and put dry mix together and make dough,” Rhine said. “I clean dishes and use the register.”  

“I clean vehicles and everything else I do out there and clean up the shop and stuff like that,” Ginn said. 

Both Rhine and Ginn tell me what could happen if they worked more under the program’s current rules. 

“I [may have to] cut off some of my medication. Maybe I don’t know for sure.” Rhine said. 

“I like to work and stuff to have more money and keep my hours and stuff,” Ginn said. “I don’t want to lose my benefits.” 

Those benefits aren’t just medical, but also personal care assistance. 

“[The staff,] they do a lot of different stuff for me,” Ginn said. “ We go out and like to do some life skills and help more people and like to help them out and stuff.” 

“We shouldn’t be restricting their income for these individuals who need personal care assistance and like medical benefits so that they can get to work,” Stinnett said. “I really feel like this will be a bipartisan push.” 

The push includes local State Representative Betsy Fogle  

“Putting aside those political differences and focusing or heading to Jefferson City to focus on those nonpartisan issues that impact our constituents and impact the most vulnerable constituents that we have is really a great way of spending our time,” Fogle said.