Mississippi is a right-to-work state, and any talk of a state minimum wage is dead on arrival in a Legislature where business interests hold considerably more sway than unions.
The state’s three top Republicans — Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn — have opposed the federal health overhaul that President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010. The law gives states the option to expand Medicaid to people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, about $16,400 for a single adult or $33,500 for a family of four.
Medicaid is paid with state and federal dollars. Mississippi is among the 19 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion, with Bryant, Reeves and Gunn saying the state can’t afford to put more people on the program, even with the federal government paying most of the tab.
The Loyola report makes an economic argument for Medicaid expansion: “Persons with health insurance have better health outcomes, and healthier people are more productive and live longer.”