ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – The two major candidates running to replace Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in January are divided over how to handle rising healthcare costs in the state.
Tens of thousands of Missourians still do not have access to health insurance. The Democratic nominee for governor, Chris Koster, wants to expand Medicaid. However, Republican nominee Eric Greitens warns that could bankrupt the state.
Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, said the state should cut back on costly government rules that increase healthcare fees. He recommends improving access to new technologies like virtual care and fighting frivolous healthcare lawsuits.
Citing statistics from a congressional committee, Greitens said, "Obamacare is causing health insurance premiums in Missouri to skyrocket by 25.9 percent."
Koster, Missouri's current attorney general, said Greitens was mixing up federal and state issues.
"I have no disagreement that there are elements of the Affordable Care Act that need to be improved, but that is not the governor's role," Koster said.
Koster said he wants the legislature to accept the $2 billion Medicaid payment the federal government has offered each year for the past three years. Koster believes those resources would create more healthcare jobs and provide health insurance for the working poor. He believes it would also help cover the high cost of mental healthcare, which the state currently finances for the uninsured.