All Missourians deserve access to quality health care, but Medicaid spending continues to consume a large and ever-increasing portion of our state’s budget. Our schools are underfunded and our roads and bridges are neglected because of the colossal cost of Medicaid. Medicaid already consumes more than one-third of the state's $24 billion budget, and expanding it would cost Missouri an additional $1.6 billion. Despite spending billions of dollars on Medicaid, it still leaves 300,000 uninsured Missourians in what is called a "coverage gap". Medicaid expansion is unworkable, unaffordable, and we are not going to do it. As governor, I will instead support Medicaid reforms as charging Medicaid patients for missed appointments.
My administration will focus on healthcare solutions like funding Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs), which would provide quality healthcare access to all Missourians, including those who live in rural areas. These clinics serve patients in medically underserved areas regardless of their ability to pay, based on a sliding scale. All Missourians should have equal access to quality healthcare, and as governor I will fight to deliver healthcare to all Missourians, urban and rural. As governor, I will also support legislation that allows remote treatment through the use of modern technology in order to improve service for underserved rural areas.
I will continue to stand up to federal overreach in our healthcare system and fight against the expansion of Obamacare. Missouri healthcare under Obamacare is unworkable and hurting Missouri families. Obamacare continues to be troubled as evidenced by the increase in premiums for Obamacare marketplace subscribers and the recent announcement of another major insurer (United Healthcare) dropping out of the marketplace. In 2010, was the first person in Missouri to file a private lawsuit fighting the constitutionality of Obamacare, and was joined by lawmakers in more than 20 states. Rather than punish hardworking uninsured Missourians with unnecessary Obamacare fines, I'll fight to fund FQHCs that will provide quality healthcare for all Missourians.
I also support reforming our healthcare system through expanding the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Missouri continues to suffer from a physician shortage in many counties, especially in the rural areas of the state. We are currently among one of the most restrictive states in terms of restrictions on nurse practitioners. By expanding the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, we can expand access to affordable and quality health care for more Missourians.