Contrary to other recent headlines, the possibility of Medicaid expansion in Mississippi as a response to Coronavirus remains highly unlikely. The state’s top officials say there is no plan to do so anytime soon.
When asked whether or not the state was considering an expansion, Renae Eze, spokesperson for Governor Tate Reeves’ office, responded that it wouldn’t be a solution to the COVID-19 response.
“Expanding Medicaid is no guarantee that it will help with the response to COVID-19—Louisiana and New York both expanded Medicaid prior to the worldwide outbreak, yet their states are still being ravaged. Working to protect the health and well-being of all Mississippians, Governor Reeves is mobilizing state resources while reaching out to the federal government for additional support.
The Governor has been in constant contact with President Trump and his Administration throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure Mississippi receives the federal support necessary. Thanks to the leadership and commitment of President Trump, his Administration, and our congressional delegation, Mississippi will receive financial support for our local hospitals and COVID-19 response across the state through the CARES Act and Presidential Major Disaster Declaration.”
Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said that the focus right now by officials is placed on immediate responses to the pandemic as well as recent natural disasters like the Easter tornados.
“Right now, we are focused on immediate responses to the pandemic, the economic fallout from the pandemic, recent floods and tornadoes, and other crises including corrections and mental health,” said Leah Smith, Deputy Chief of Staff to Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann.
Speaker of the House Philip Gunn flat out said, “No,” when asked about the possibility of expansion.
“There are no plans to expand Medicaid at this time,” said Gunn in another statement.
These sentiments are on par with what Drew Snyder, Director of the Division of Medicaid said in a late March interview with Y’all Politics. Snyder said the division is focused more on allowing more beneficiaries to have access to telemedicine when receiving treatment.
The division has also worked to secure more federal dollars as they navigate through COVID-19.
The federal match rate was increased in March by 6.2 percent. Snyder said that would free up roughly $70,000 to $80,000 in state dollars that would have otherwise been required to receive federal support.