Dispute over Medicaid is complex, partisan

The Mississippi House voted Friday not to revive a Medicaid bill it killed in late January, leaving uncertainty about how lawmakers will debate the future of the program during the final half of their three-month session.

Democrats want to expand the program to cover more low-income residents, which is an option under the federal health overhaul President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010.

Republicans say even with the federal government paying most of the tab for expansion, Mississippi can’t afford to add an estimated 288,000 to 300,000 people to a program that already covers more than 640,000. Mississippi’s population is a little less than 3 million.

The more fundamental question now is how lawmakers will keep the existing Medicaid program alive after the current state budget year ends June 30 — with or without expansion.

Sun Herald
2/15/13