Gov. Parson names Missouri Medicaid program director

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JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Parson appointed the new director of the Missouri Medicaid program, filling a permanent position after 22 months.

Speaker of the House and attorney Todd Richardson will be director of MO HealthNet starting Nov. 1.

"We have an enormous challenge in front of us," said Richardson. 

His responsibilities include command and oversight for over one-third of budget, which Parson said is long overdue. 

Richardson said that the General Assembly has expressed concern over of the issue of Medicaid expansion, but that his focus is not on the expanding on Medicaid eligibility. He said he wants to work with this existing population to improve health outcomes and financial stability. 

Richardson said his mission will be to ensure that we have a sustainable program that produces better health outcomes, at an affordable price for Missouri tax-payers. 

Parson said that ever since he took office in June, his office has made it a priority to fill vacancies and bring stability to Missouri government. 

"It's an area where we need to spend a lot more time on it when it comes to reform," said Parson. "It's going to be huge to the success of Missouri moving forward."

Richardson said nearly one million Missourians are served by Missouri HealthNet. The program spending has grown to over $10 billion.

Parson said Richardson's salary will be more than his and the Chief of Justice, but that it's important to have a qualified person in this position, no matter the amount of money. 

"The reason that I wanted Todd to be in this position is because he truly just cares about Missouri," said Parson. "It was something he felt like we should have done a better job on it in the past than we have and he was willing to step forward and finish the job."