State’s hospitals will join, complicate Medicaid fight

How simple it would be if the legislative battle in Mississippi over the future of the Obama health care reforms were merely a battle between Republicans and Democrats.

On the surface, that’s the rub. The Republican leadership — Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, and House Speaker Philip Gunn — all say they oppose a Medicaid expansion in Mississippi because of state budgetary concerns. Bryant said funding a Medicaid expansion would likely require substantial budget cuts in education and transportation. Reeves said adding 400,000 people to Medicaid would cost about $1.7 billion over a decade. Gunn called the expansion a “budget-buster.”

But Democrats and public health care advocacy groups say Mississippi can’t afford to turn down additional federal dollars available for public health care in a state with a high percentage of uninsured citizens.

Clarion Ledger
8/1/12