WTOK – Amid partisan split, Medicaid plan passes Mississippi Senate

A proposal to keep Mississippi’s Medicaid program alive is advancing in the Legislature.

Senators voted 31-16 Tuesday to pass Senate Bill 2836 , with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats opposing it. The bill goes to the House for more work.

Democrats expressed concern that Mississippi has passed up billions of federal dollars by not expanding Medicaid to the working poor. Expansion is an option under the health law signed by then-President Barack Obama in 2010.

Congressman Harper wants DEA cooperation in opioid epidemic

As Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, I am committed to working with the DEA in fighting the…

Posted by Gregg Harper on Tuesday, February 6, 2018

WDAM – City of Hattiesburg to file suit against drug companies over opioid epidemic

The City of Hattiesburg is the first municipality in Mississippi to take a stand against major pharmaceutical companies for their role in the opioid epidemic.

Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a resolution authorizing the city to contract a team of attorneys to file a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and wholesale distributors.  According to the city, the companies in question control 85% of the market for prescription opioids and profited from the opioid epidemic.

“This is a significant public health issue and we as policy makers, we as leaders, we take a look at our community, we realize these problems are not going to get any better without intervention,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker.  “That’s why we are taking this step, because we do believe people should be held accountable for letting this problem go on for as long as it has.”

 

Gov. Bryant speaks at Mississippi Nurses Association

 

WLBT – U.S. Senator Cory Booker to be in Jackson for Friends of Mississippi Civil Rights Gala

United States Senator Cory Booker will be in Jackson February 24 to serve as a keynote speaker for the Friends of Mississippi Gala for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

Booker has been in office since 2013. He previously served as the 36th Mayor of Newark, New Jersey from 2006 to 2013. He is a Stanford graduate and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford, where he earned an honors degree in United States history in 1994 as a member of The Queen’s College.

 

WJTV – ‘Urine Trouble’ bill passes in the House, moves to Senate

A bill proposed to ban fake urine has passed in the House.

Shoppers can buy fake urine to beat drug tests, but a group in the Magnolia state are pushing against it.

The bill nicknamed “Urine Trouble” is now moving to the Senate.

Republican Rep. Andy Gipson said synthetic human urine products are being sold in truck stops.

 

WCBI – MISSISSIPPI HOUSE PASSES EQUAL PAY BILL

On Friday, Democratic Rep. Alyce Clarke of Jackson persuaded the House to insert an equal pay requirement. However, there was a dispute over an amendment offered by another lawmaker, and that delayed a vote on the bill.

On Tuesday, Republican Rep. Mark Baker of Brandon persuaded the House to revise Clarke’s equal pay proposal and pass the bill. He said he was trying to help, not hurt, Clarke’s cause.

The bill goes to the Senate for more debate.

 

 

Congressman Palazzo congratulates SpaceX on launch

 

Wicker, Cochran push for critical community health center funding

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., are part of a bipartisan majority calling on the Senate leadership to support immediate reauthorization of community health center funding.

Sixty-seven Senators on Monday signed a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) expressing strong support for community health centers and requesting reauthorization for the program, which lapsed last September.

Cochran and Wicker joined the effort to support the 21 community health centers with 187 sites in 70 Mississippi counties.  These facilities provide cost-effective primary and preventive care to more than 280,000 Mississippians annually.

“Community health centers serve a vital function, providing affordable health care to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” wrote the senators. “They provide quality medical, dental, vision and behavioral health care to more than 27 million patients, including 330,000 of our nation’s veterans and 8 million children, at over 10,000 sites nationwide. … Without extension of the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), community health centers will lose seventy percent of their funding.  This will result in an estimated 2,800 site closures, the loss of 50,000 jobs, and approximately 9 million Americans losing access to their health care.”

The CHCF expired on Sept. 30, 2017, jeopardizing access to care for patients and making it difficult for community health centers to adequately plan for everything from staffing needs to securing loans for capital projects.

The House of Representatives on Monday night released legislation addressing the problem as part of a must-pass spending bill.  The legislation, known as a continuing resolution, includes a two-year extension for community health centers.  It would also avoid a government shutdown on Feb. 8 by funding federal government operations until March 23.

Under the community health center provisions, the continuing resolution includes supplementary awards to help community health centers increase access to primary care services by expanding the use of telehealth.  Cochran and Wicker have promoted this policy in legislation they’ve authored, including the CONNECT for Health Act.

The text of the letter is available below and here:

Dear Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:

 

We write to express our concern over funding for community health centers, which expired on September 30, 2017.  We strongly urge you to reauthorize this funding immediately.

Community health centers serve a vital function, providing affordable health care to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.  They provide quality medical, dental, vision and behavioral health care to more than 27 million patients, including 330,000 of our nation’s veterans and 8 million children, at over 10,000 sites nationwide.  By offering preventative care, treating chronic conditions, and working to fight the opioid epidemic, community health centers are not only greatly improving the health and well-being of those they serve, they are also saving significant taxpayer dollars.

Without extension of the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), community health centers will lose seventy percent of their funding.  This will result in an estimated 2,800 site closures, the loss of 50,000 jobs, and approximately 9 million Americans losing access to their health care.  Moreover, community health centers operate as small businesses and require a level of predictability to operate and respond to the needs of their communities.  Since the expiration of the CHCF, community health centers have not been able to adequately plan for everything from staffing needs to securing loans for capital projects. In addition, the expiration of the National Health Service Corps and Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education program threatens the ability of health centers to meet their workforce needs.

For more than fifty years, community health centers have experienced strong bipartisan support.  In fact, twenty bipartisan senators cosponsor legislation which reauthorizes funding not only for community health centers but also for the National Health Service Corps.

We look forward to working with you to reach a bipartisan agreement to fund the community health center program and enable our community health centers to continue providing high quality and affordable care to those in need.