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Putting You On Medicaid: Expansion May Come Up Again in Legislature

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Chris Davis

JACKSON, Miss.–There is talk amongst the state’s Democrat lawmakers about a new push for expanding Medicaid in Mississippi. Under Obama Care, Mississippi could add another 300,000 people to the Medicaid roles. But, like last year, Republicans are not likely to let that happen.

You might remember that near the end of the 2013 legislative session, the state’s Medicaid program got put on hold while the debate came to a stand-off. Democrats were able to block the funding for the program, which is matched by federal dollars.Gov. Bryant’s plan was then to run Medicaid by executive order.

An agreement was eventually made and he program was back up and running normally.

Some see expanding Medicaid as an economic stimulus, with more federal dollars going to the medical industry in the state. They also see it as a way to insure more Mississippians who may not currently qualify for the federal program, but who may not be able to afford their own private insurance.

But, for most Republican state lawmakers, it’s a problem because the state would eventually see the federal dollars run out and Mississippi taxpayers have to make it up.

Gov. Bryant did not include expansion in his budget recommendation. Neither did the legislature.

“Absolutely not,” Bryant told News Mississippi after making his recommendations this year. “If you look at where the Obama plan is now, it’s a total disaster.” He said he believes the U.S. Congress might even be or should take another look at the effects of Obama Care.

“If the Democrats want to make this session a fight about Obama Care, the have at it,” said House Speaker Pro Temp Greg Snowden. “I think it’s foolish. As a matter of politics, they cannot get it passed. We had the argument last year about Medicaid expansion. I think that’s been settled.”

 

Snowden also said expanding Medicaid to more people could put them in the same boat as people who are on Medicaid now, who could have their assets seized by the state if they go into a nursing home or other facility.

“You can’t just divest yourself of everything and say ‘I’m poor’. You have children that want to inherit something, but if mama and daddy need to go into the nursing home, but if they have assets, you use those assets before you get to Medicaid.”

While the state does not take a home while the person is still living, it does have a lein so that the property may go to the state after their deaths.

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