JEFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri’s Medicaid budget is likely to rise by hundreds of millions of dollars next year. But state officials say there is little they can do about it. The budget outlined by Gov. Jay Nixon calls for $8.4 billion for the health care program for the poor during the 2012 fiscal year that starts July 1. That’s an increase of 5.5 percent, or about $444 million, over what is expected to be spent this year. The growth in Medicaid comes as Nixon is recommending cuts to public colleges and universities, the elimination of hundreds of state employee positions, and flat funding for public K-12 schools. But much of Missouri’s Medicaid spending is considered mandatory, if the state wants to continue receiving federal money for the program.