For the second time in two days, House Democrats voted to stop a Medicaid appropriation measure because passage of such a measure would effectively end debate on Medicaid expansion during the 2013 session. Adding more confusion to the process, there is technically no agency to accept any future appropriation as Medicaid has not been reauthorized. Further, while the Governor has stated his intention to run Medicaid without reauthorization, House Democrats continue to maintain that such action would be unconstitutional.
Today’s vote follows House leadership’s decision to kill the Senate Medicaid bill by sending it to the House Rules Committee and leadership’s decision to ignore at least thirty-five Democratic attempts to have a full debate on the question of Medicaid expansion.
A 2/3rds vote would be required in order to debate the Medicaid program again this session. Another option would be for the Governor to call a special session.
House Democratic Caucus Leader Bobby Moak (D-Bogue Chitto) said, “The decision by House Republican leadership and the Governor to not allow a full debate, much less a vote, on Medicaid expansion, could cost the taxpayers $30,000 per day if a special session is called. On the other hand, if the Governor does not call a special session, 700,000 people who depend on the program will be in jeopardy along with the 300,000 Mississippians that would be eligible under the expansion program.”
Moak added, “The short-sighted actions of the Governor and House Republicans could cost the state economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs within the next three months. This is inexcusable at a time when Mississippi’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the country and jobs remain at 1996 levels.”
MS House Democrats Press Release