Bill offering Medicaid to veterans and families generates new current in debate

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By RUDI KELLER

Ryan Gill has big plans.

In the long-term, the University of Missouri senior hopes to enter law school and, when finished, work representing veterans. In the short-term, Gill hopes to persuade state lawmakers to do something for veterans and their families that they won’t do for the public at large — expand Medicaid eligibility.

The main groups who would benefit from a bill proposed by Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, Gill said, are students and veterans struggling to find their place after life in the military.

Department of Veterans Affairs benefits are good for the veterans able to use them, he said, but don’t cover dependents and suffer from bureaucratic inertia.

“If we don’t cover these individuals while they are young, or the ones that have fallen down to get them back on their feet, what a squandered opportunity we have lost to contribute something to our economy, especially the young veterans,” said Gill, president of the Mizzou Student Veterans Association and a board member of Welcome Home Inc., a homeless shelter for veterans.

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