A partisan feud over Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is threatening health care for thousands of low-income and elderly Mississippians whose coverage could be in jeopardy at the end of the month if lawmakers don’t come to a consensus. Both Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and Democratic state lawmakers face pressure to resolve their staring contest. If they don’t, the whole state Medicaid program — never mind any proposed expansion — would expire July 1.
Hospitals and nursing homes are jittery about disrupting care for patients and losing critical funds.
Numerous states have battled over expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. But in Mississippi, it’s playing out in a way that threatens the entire program, not just the 300,000 who could get covered if the state expanded but the 700,000 people who are currently enrolled. The Republican-led Legislature adjourned in April without passing a Medicaid budget because members couldn’t agree on expansion. And if they don’t come up with a solution, the program goes out of existence on July 1.
Democrats demand a vote on expansion — but they say that if they lose, they won’t stand in the way of renewal of the current Medicaid program. Republicans, though, say they want to cut a deal with Democrats on reauthorizing Medicaid without expansion before calling a vote.