On three separate occasions during his time as a State Senator, GOP Missouri Governor Mike Parson attempted to ram through a series of health care bills specifically designed to prevent low-income Missourians from enrolling in the Affordable Care Act exchange.
In 2013, Parson sponsored SB508, a bill that would have instituted costly barriers for applicants to become health care navigators in Missouri. Navigators are health care professionals tasked with helping consumers, small businesses, and their employees enroll in health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.
SB508 would have required potential navigators to undergo a months-long federal background check or take a written exam, and was so egregious in its attempt to undermine the ACA it was dubbed a “petty GOP attempt to sabotage the Affordable Care Act,” by the Kansas City Star.
Parson’s attempts to do the bidding of the healthcare industry were so paper-thin that he directly copied and pasted the text for SB508 from a model bill written by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate interest group that crafted model legislation specifically designed to help GOP state legislatures undermine the Affordable Care Act.
Ultimately, the bill failed because of bad proofreading: Parson copied and pasted the bill verbatim from the model bill, resulting in it referencing the wrong Missouri statute and forcing the Governor at the time to issue a veto.
But Parson’s attempts to sabotage the ACA in Missouri didn’t stop there. Following the embarrassing veto, in 2015 and 2016 Parson sponsored two more nearly identical bills, designed to increase regulatory barriers for health care navigators and chill low-income Missourians’ access to affordable health care.
Recently, the Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade and Parson’s Democratic opponent, Nicole Galloway, charged that Missourians could not trust Parson to implement Medicaid expansion, despite the fact that voters had already recently approved the measure via a ballot initiative in August. Parson’s history and repeated attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act lend further credibility to her claim.
In November, Governor Parson is seeking reelection.