JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Medicaid expansion is a phrase that’s gotten caught up in politics.
State medical groups say healthcare shouldn’t be political, but with the election behind us, we’re on your side asking leaders if they can move past the rhetoric and make changes.
”Lieutenant Governor and presumed Speaker have both expressed an interest in doing something,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Robert Johnson regarding healthcare.
House Minority Leader Robert Johnson thinks there’s a window to get something done on the healthcare issue in 2024. Johnson says the legislature will be responsible for finding a solution that they can offer up to Reeves, one that he’ll accept or at least one they support enough to override a veto. But it likely won’t be called Medicaid expansion.
“Started out you couldn’t say Affordable Care,” recalled Johnson. “Then you couldn’t say Obamacare. Now, you can’t say Medicaid expansion. Fine. Look, call it you know, call it Reeves care. I don’t care. Call it whatever you want to call it. Let’s just get the health care to the people who need it. That’s what we need to do.”
Reeves is still adamantly against Medicaid expansion but recently announced a plan to increase reimbursements to hospitals. Johnson thinks that’s a sign he’s open to conversations, again minus the title of expansion. Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann has talked about solutions a lot on the campaign trail, leaving the title off of it.
“We’re going to tackle healthcare,” he said after his victory on election night. “There’s a path forward in healthcare, on hospitals, or doctors or nurses on mental health, on Child Protective Services, pharmacies, you’ll see us look at all of those and the hearings, I hope we’ll start having the second week in January.”
The Mississippi State Medical Association approved a resolution a couple of years ago in support of increasing access to working Mississippians.
“Other states have used waiver systems, called it differently worked at it called it their own,” explained Dr. John Mitchell, President of MSMA. “So yeah, I mean, it we don’t care what it’s called. As long as there’s an effort to expand access to care and work within the system. I think there’s a lot of opportunities rather than just your standard Medicaid expansion process.”
Lawmakers return to the Capitol in January to begin their work. We’ll be on your side continuing to watch this issue.
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