Six o'clock is the deadline for Missouri legislators to agree on several issues presented for next year's budget. The state's fiscal year begins July 1st.
One of the most debated issues is Medicaid-funded at-home care. State lawmakers say they are stuck with making tough decisions. This year's revenues have been growing at barely half the pace on which this year's budget was based. So Missouri's House and Senate are at odds with alternatives on funding at-home care.
Buffy Comer says it means the world to be handicapped but still have freedom.
"Even though I'm dependent, I'm independent, too," says Comer.
Karen, a caregiver, is busy washing and folding Comer's laundry. Karen also helps Comer walk and carry things because Comer has multiple sclerosis. Life is manageable. But Comer dreads what Missouri lawmakers may do to her and others in similar situations.
"I'm obsolete," says Comer.
A budget item being debated in Jefferson City requires Medicaid recipients to show a greater level of disability to qualify for at-home care.
"I'm coming from Haiti, a country where we don't have all the safety nets that we do here (United States)," says Gerald Mondestin.
Mondestin owns "My Destiny Home Care", the company that provides care for Comer.
"I'm so thankful to be in the United States and look at all the things we put in place to help the most vulnerable people in America. Now, coming and taking away the things that really make America great, you become like a third world country where people have to rely on themselves," says Mondestin.
All of Mondestin's 60 clients pay with Medicaid.
"I don't make enough money. I'm on SSDI, so I make very little income a month," says Comer.
Comer and Mondestin know state budgets are important. But they say at-home care is vital.
"We have to have this funding to exist," says Comer.
The base proposal for funding Medicaid at-home care is requiring people have more disabilities to qualify. However, legislators have been trying to come up with alternatives.
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas