Available and Affordable Health Care
Quality health care is vital for all people and their families. When Governor Blunt took office, he began the difficult task of reforming Missouri's broken health care system. Today, with Governor Blunt's leadership, Missouri's health care program for the poor, elderly and disabled is well on its way to ensuring quality care is available to vulnerable Missourians.
- Focus on Wellness and Prevention. Governor Blunt introduced his bipartisan MO HealthNet plan to replace the old, broken system. MO HealthNet focuses on wellness and prevention instead of only sickness like the old system. MO HealthNet empowers patients by increasing access to quality health care, giving them the tools to become participants and increasing choices for improving their health.
- Access to Primary Care. Under MO HealthNet, for the first time in Missouri history every participant will have access to primary and preventive care through a choice of a Health Care Home. The Governor's focus is on wellness and prevention through regular check-ups, immunizations and a personal plan of care.
- Insurance for Working Missourians. Governor Bluntís Insure Missouri is aimed at decreasing the number of uninsured Missourians by helping low-income working Missourians purchase their own personal health insurance. It also will make it easier for small employers to purchase private health insurance for their employees. Insure Missouri will help reduce the number of uninsured Missourians by 30 percent.
- More Affordable Health Care. Governor Blunt signed legislation to expand health coverage, lower health care costs and reduce the number of Missourians without insurance. The measure includes tax relief for Missouri families by allowing them to deduct the cost of their health insurance premiums.
- Ending Waste, Fraud, and Abuse. Under the previous administration, the state's spending had ballooned out of control and Missouri's low-income, elderly and disabled were in danger of the health care system going bankrupt. The old system was unsustainable and, more importantly, failing Missourians who needed help. The Governor's commitment to fight waste, fraud and abuse in the health care system produced savings that were reinvested in the program.
- Secure Access To Patient Records. Governor Blunt secured $25 million for a new Health Care Technology Fund to improve secure patient and provider access to critical information and develop an innovative electronic health records system that will improve health decisions, ease coordination among doctors, prevent dangerous drug interactions and reduce wasted tax dollars on outdated administrative methods.
- Preparing For The Long-Term. The Governor is helping Missouri families to better prepare for the future by increasing the deduction for long-term care insurance from 50 to 100 percent. Governor Blunt stood up for Missouri seniors by recommending a $600,000 increase in funding for Meals on Wheels and $400,000 for the Missouri Rx program. These vital programs allow seniors to maintain their independence and remain in their homes and communities.
- Encouraging Healthy Lifestyles. Obesity carries a high price in terms of both poor health and financial burden. Governor Blunt launched Healthy Missourians, an initiative that responds to the state's obesity epidemic and encourages healthier lifestyles among Missourians of all ages.
Governor Matt Blunt's highest priority: Missouri's children. He has proven his commitment to our future by putting more dollars into early learning, Missouri classrooms and scholarships to help ensure Missouri children receive the best possible education. His goal: truly world class education for our students.
- Putting Classrooms First. Governor Blunt's budgets put children first, and he has increased funding for Missouri classrooms by more than half a billion dollars with no job-killing tax increases on hard-working families. This focus on classrooms is in stark contrast to the previous practices by Jay Nixon's party of withholding school funds, slashing higher education and constantly calling for higher taxes to cover the cost of out of control spending.
- Supporting Colleges and Universities. This year, the Governor proposed and enacted a plan to increase funding for colleges and universities by $40 million a year for the next three years, while demanding that accountability measures be put in place for Missouri higher education institutions, including measures that will keep tuition low for Missouri families.
- Improved Access to Education Through Scholarships. Recognizing families and students need assistance to ensure they can attend Missouri colleges and universities, the Governor has increased funding for student scholarships and improved the Missouri scholarship program, called Access Missouri Scholarship. Access Missouri is more predictable and easier for families to understand, helping parents and students plan for their education after high school. In the past two years, Governor Blunt has increased scholarship funding from $25 million to the current level of $72.5 million. This increase is estimated to help 36,000 students receive scholarships to attend Missouri institutions, up from 17,000 previously.
- Ending Cuts to Higher Education. When Governor Blunt took office, he immediately ended the severe cuts on higher education put into place by the previous administration. Last year, he won an added $20 million for colleges and universities, the first significant funding increase for higher education in years.
- Bringing Campuses Into The 21st Century.Governor Blunt's innovative Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative is a blueprint for long-range excellence in higher education, offering $335 million for capital improvements on campuses across the state. At a time when students need classrooms where they can learn from current technology and equipment to prepare them for the high-tech workforce, Missouri institutions need support to improve their facilities that, for many, were built for learning in the 1950s. Not surprisingly, Jay Nixon opposed Governor Blunt's bold plan to boost higher education and used his office to launch unfounded political attacks in an attempt to stop the flow of important funding to our colleges and universities. While Governor Blunt is working hard to move Missouri forward and putting students and families first, Nixon is in the midst of a three year long campaign from the Attorney General's office.
- A Fair School Funding Formula.Governor Blunt proposed and signed into law the new, fairer school funding formula to distribute state aid on the basis of student and classroom needs instead of rewarding schools based on their high local taxes.
- Supporting Parents as Teachers. Governor Blunt's budgets also recognize the importance of early learning and helping parents become their child's first teacher. He has increased funding to the Parents As Teachers program, ensuring more families are served by this Missouri program that has become internationally recognized.
- After School Programs. Governor Blunt has worked closely with educators and business leaders to collaborate on supporting education programs that not only will help prepare students to be successful, productive citizens, but also will help support working Missouri families. The Governor has created partnerships and coalitions at the local levels that support after school programs, helping to keep children safe between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. and incorporating strong math and science programs to give Missouri students an edge in these important subjects.
- Sales Tax Holiday.To help families with their budgets, the Governor signed into law welcomed tax relief through the sales tax holiday for school supplies and related needs.
Governor Blunt is leading the way to a job-friendly Missouri, a critical component of economic growth and opportunity for all Missourians. The tools that Blunt and the Legislature created are keys to attracting and retaining quality jobs that support families and provide health benefits. Surging job growth shows that Blunt is winning the battle to replace the anti-growth way of the past with an attitude that welcomes and encourages new jobs and investment in Missouri and our workers.
- Creating Family-Supporting Jobs. Thanks to Governor Blunt's pro-growth, pro-jobs policies, Missourians created 17,000 new jobs since January 2005. Just a few years ago, Missouri led the nation in job loss. Under Blunt's leadership, Missouri has seen record high employment numbers and the lowest unemployment rate in six years.
- Attracting Quality Jobs. Governor Blunt signed the Quality Jobs Act to provide new incentives for employers that help create new, family-supporting jobs with good pay levels and health coverage. To date, the Quality Jobs Act has led to the creation of more than 22,000 new jobs that provide health care. To help attract and retain even more quality jobs, the Governor signed an economic development bill that expands the Quality Jobs Act, increasing its annual capacity from $12 million to $40 million without a tax increase and boosting pro-growth initiatives that are designed to promote economic expansion and job creation.
- A Leader In Renewable Energy. The Governor's Energy and Green Power Initiative establishes a 10 percent ethanol standard for motor vehicle fuel, which will benefit consumers, farm families, and the environment while reducing our nation's dangerous dependence on foreign oil. Blunt also was the first Governor to call for full funding of both the Biodiesel and Ethanol Producer Incentive funds, which encourage the production of renewable fuels. These initiatives reinforce Missouri agriculture and establish the Show-Me State as a leader in renewable energy.
- Promoting Missouri's Workforce. Governor Blunt is hard at work recruiting new employers to Missouri by promoting our state's talented and committed workforce around the country and around the world.
- Stopping Frivolous and Abusive Lawsuits. The Governor won passage of new laws to combat frivolous and abusive medical malpractice lawsuits, which were driving family physicians and other caregivers out of practice in Missouri, especially in smaller communities and rural areas. Missouri gained five positions in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's "legal fairness" rankings after Blunt's first year in office.
- Protecting Workers' Compensation. Blunt also signed new workers' compensation bills to protect and strengthen this vital program to help workers injured on the job while fighting abuse of the system. After four consecutive years of rising rates, workers' compensation insurance premiums have reached a 13-year low, providing businesses with more opportunities to create quality jobs.
Governor Blunt was taught to respect the value of a dollar, to expect accountability in government, and to cherish our American freedoms. Today, he is leading Missouri government forcefully toward the best and wisest use of the taxpayer's hard-earned resources, fighting waste in government, and delivering responsible and accountable service to the people.
Protecting Missouri Values
- A Balanced Budget. When he took office, Governor Blunt inherited a $1.1 billion budget deficit. Through fiscally responsible decision-making, Blunt balanced the state budget with no new taxes while providing more for education. Last year, the state experienced a small but real surplus - the first budget surplus in years. This year, Missouri's budget has an estimated $292 million surplus because Blunt balanced the budget the Missouri way - by getting control of spending and holding the line on taxes.
- Tax Relief for Seniors. Senior citizens deserve to keep the Social Security benefits that they worked hard to earn, which is why Governor Blunt supported an end to cuts in Social Security through double taxation of seniors' benefits. The Senior Tax Justice Act provides tax relief to thousands of Missouri seniors, including teachers, firefighters, police officers, and military personnel.
- Respecting Property Rights. Governor Blunt respects property ownership as a basic American right. In response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that state and local governments can allow private interests to seize homes and other property for economic development under eminent domain, he asked lawmakers to pass and then signed into law legislation that protects property owners from government abuse of eminent domain.
- Defending The Second Amendment. Matt Blunt believes in the rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. These rights are particularly important in emergency situations like natural disasters, which is why Governor Blunt asked lawmakers to pass the 'Katrina Doctrine' bill, which he signed into law, that guarantees Missourians will retain their Second Amendment rights, especially in times of emergency. He also supported and signed the 'Castle Doctrine' to ensure the right of law-abiding citizens to protect their families and property from criminals.
- No Taxation Without Representation. Governor Blunt called on statewide office holders and legislators to stand against taxation without representation and join him in support of House Joint Resolution 1, which prevents unelected judges from ordering tax increases on Missourians.
- Targeting Waste, Fraud, and Abuse. Governor Blunt is targeting waste, fraud, and abuse in welfare after years of lax oversight, already saving more than $138 million in taxpayer dollars, keeping public assistance safe and available for those in genuine need.
- Increasing Efficency. The Governor is putting education first, balancing the budget with no job-killing new taxes, and increasing efficiency in government. For the first time since 1999, the number of state workers in Missouri is below 60,000.
Striving to honor and uphold our values is the Governor's most basic commitment as a public servant, parent, and spouse. Matt Blunt is a clear and strong voice for the traditional values that make America the greatest nation in history and provide the foundation for what is good and lasting in our families and communities.
- Protecting Children from Sex Predators. To protect children from sexual predators, Blunt signed legislation to require lifetime electronic monitoring of individuals convicted of certain sexual offenses against children. Missouri is one of only five states in the U.S. with this strong, pro-child policy. He also championed and enacted Missouri's Jessica's Law, mandating life in prison for child sex offenders.
- Cracking Down on Meth. Governor Blunt enacted strong anti-meth legislation to crack down on the illegal drug, resulting in a 40 percent decrease in meth incidents as meth-makers folded up shop in Missouri. The new law makes it much tougher for illicit drug makers to get over-the-counter cold medicines that contain key ingredients for meth.
- Protecting Innocent Life. The first pro-life Governor of Missouri since 1992, Governor Blunt summoned a special legislative session to protect the lives of innocent children from abortion. He won passage of laws to prohibit transporting minors to other states for abortions without parental consent and to protect women by requiring abortion "clinics" to have local hospital access.
- Stopping State Payments to Abortion Providers. Governor Blunt halted payments to Planned Parenthood when he discovered taxpayer dollars were being used to fund the nation's largest abortion provider. At the same time, he increased funding for health screenings for Show-Me Healthy women by $500,000, helping more than 1,200 additional women get this important care without compromising their values by visiting abortionists.
- Supporting Pregnancy Resource Center. Blunt is helping protect the lives of innocent children by enacting a tax credit for charitable donations for pregnancy resource centers that do not perform abortions or refer women to abortionists.
- Encouraging Alternatives to Abortion. The Governor signed legislation making the Alternatives to Abortion program permanent, offering counseling and services to pregnant women and encouraging them to carry their unborn children to term. Another important component of this legislation keeps abortion providers like Planned Parenthood out of Missouri classrooms.
- Protecting Indvidual Rights. Governor Blunt believes the government must respect the religious and moral convictions of all people, including health care providers. Blunt supports "conscience protection" for pharmacists who cannot in good conscience dispense products they find morally objectionable as abortion-related.
- Upholding Traditional Marriage. The Governor stood with the overwhelming majority of Missouri voters in his support for protecting traditional marriage from activist liberal judges. In August 2004, Blunt support Missouri's constitutional definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman.