Lt. Governor Tate Reeves joined former Kansas Governor and surgeon Jeff Colyer and members of the Mississippi State Medical Association to discuss his healthcare policy proposals. The political arm of the Mississippi State Medical Association—Mississippi Medical PAC—offered their endorsement, as did Governor Colyer.
Lt. Governor Tate Reeves laid out several proposals for advancing Mississippi’s health care system, with a particular focus on improving access to rural health care including:
1. Increasing Mississippi Rural Physician Scholarships for doctors who work in underserved areas.
2. Increasing investment in rural residency programs.
3. Supporting telemedicine to reduce the cost and expand the reach of care.
4. Supporting tax incentives for businesses that contribute to hospitals in rural areas.
5. Creating incentives for physicians that locate in underserved areas.
“The Medical Association has a long history of working with the Lieutenant Governor. As most people know, health care is a very complex and complicated issue. And there’s a number of different areas that we have to deal with, that we have to address in health care policy and medical policy,” said Dr. Claude Brunson, MSMA Executive Director. “The Lieutenant Governor has been there right by our side ever since he became the Lieutenant Governor. We have a very comfortable relationship with him. He’s always honest, upfront, and direct with us about where he is on issues.
“I deal with a lot of health care issues. The office that you’ve created to for training docs is one of the most innovative ones in the country,” said Dr. Jeff Coyler, former Governor of Kansas. “There are very few other states that are focusing on, ‘let’s get doctors back out to people and develop those residency programs.’ This is incredibly innovative, and it’s really going to be a huge impact for your state. And you’re going to see a lot of other states copying Mississippi on this.”
Excerpts from his remarks are below:
“This is a group of respected doctors and medical professionals: people who know that I will work to make sure Mississippians get the best possible health care for the lowest possible cost to them. They know that I will work to protect rural healthcare access and ensure that everyone has access to quality care in a drive they can make.
There are a few keys to success in that endeavor: first, we need more doctors. Mississippi has one of the highest ratios of primary care physicians to citizens. It is 1900 to 1. That hits our rural areas particularly hard. It makes it harder to access health care, and it makes it harder to afford health care.
I’m calling for an increase in rural healthcare scholarship programs, to train and recruit doctors to underserved areas. We’ve steered more than $27 million to programs like this during my time as Lieutenant Governor, but more investment is needed to bring more medical professionals to rural Mississippi.
We need more residencies in rural areas. We have to expand the pipeline—period. As governor, I’ll support state investments to expand the number and geography of rural residency programs.
I know that with innovation, incentives, and investment we can create a health care system that better serves our entire state. We can bring quality care to underserved areas. We can keep Mississippians healthy, and we can lower the cost to them.”
Tate Reeves for Governor