AG Jim Hood issues non-binding opinion that governor can’t run Medicaid by executive order

Mississippi’s governor does not have the legal authority to operate the Division of Medicaid by executive order, Attorney General Jim Hood said in a nonbinding legal opinion issued Wednesday.

The opinion from Hood, a Democrat, contradicts Republican Gov. Phil Bryant. The governor has said for weeks that he thinks he can run the program himself, even if lawmakers don’t vote to keep it alive beyond June 30, the end of the current budget year.

Some lawmakers say the attorney general’s opinion could increase pressure on Bryant to call the Legislature into special session by next week to reauthorize Medicaid, which covers 644,000 low-income, needy or disabled Mississippians.