JACKSON, Miss.–A special session has been called for Mississippi lawmakers by Governor Phil Bryant to try and end the Medicaid funding crisis in the state.
The legislature will meet Thursday at 10 a.m. June 27 with three days left before benefits end for some 700,000 Mississippians.
They adjourned the 2013 Regular Legislative Session without passing certain laws that regulate the state agency responsible for running Medicaid and without providing that agency funding to pay for medical services received by Mississippi’s Medicaid beneficiaries.
“It is unfortunate that Mississippi taxpayers must bear the expense of a Special Session because some lawmakers chose to make a political point during the Regular Session instead of acting responsibly to conduct state business at the appropriate time,” Gov. Bryant said.
During the regular session, Democrats wanted the program expanded to add some 300,000 more Mississippians but Republicans have said the state just can’t afford it.
“I urge the Legislature to act immediately upon convening to authorize and fund the Division of Medicaid,” said Gov. Bryant. “Taxpayers should not have to pay for days of political showmanship, and Medicaid beneficiaries deserve to be freed from the uncertainty that has been thrust upon them.”
If lawmakers can’t come to an agreement to fund the Medicaid program, Governor Bryant has said he will run the program by executive order.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said in a non-binding opinion last week that Gov. Bryant cannot legally do that with an executive order, and that remains to be seen.
Lawmakers will step back up to the plate at the end of the week to try and keep one in every five Mississippians covered with healthcare.