Mississippi Passes Bill to Expand Medicaid, Providing Healthcare Access to Over 210,000 Citizens

There’s some big news coming out of Mississippi. The House of Representatives Medicaid Committee just took a major step forward by pushing through a bill that could expand Medicaid to more than 210,000 people in the state for the first time ever. Let’s break down the key points.

House Bill 1725 and Speaker Jason White

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The bill, known as House Bill 1725, got the ball rolling thanks to first-year House Speaker and bill sponsor Jason White.

Accelerated Passage Through Committee

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It sped through discussion in less than 15 minutes with hardly any argument from committee members at the Mississippi State Capitol.

Chair Missy McGee’s Healthcare Goals

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The Chair of the House Medicaid Committee, Missy McGee, said that one of the main goals of the committee and the Speaker was to find healthcare options for people in Mississippi who work but still struggle to afford healthcare.

Healthcare Statistics in Mississippi

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McGee pointed out some troubling stats about Mississippi’s healthcare situation – they have the highest number of preventable deaths and the shortest life expectancy in the country.

They’re also number one in infant and maternal mortality. She made it clear that a lot needs to be done to ensure Mississippians get the care they need.

Proposed Medicaid Expansion Eligibility Criteria

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If both the House and the Senate approve the bill, it’ll mean the Mississippi Division of Medicaid will work with the Federal Government to make Medicaid available to more people.

Medicaid will be available for those who are working but still earning less than 138% of the federal poverty line – around $20k per year for one person.

Coverage for Working Americans and Full-time Students

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If put through, Medicaid would now cover Americans who work at least 20 hours a week or are full-time students, as well as others.

Financial Dynamics 

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Here’s how it would work financially: the Federal Government would pay for 90% of the costs of the expansion, and the state would cover the remaining 10%. 

Potential Additional Funding Sources

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According to some recent studies, Mississippi could get even more money from the Federal Government (from the American Rescue Plan Act), which could help cover the costs for the first couple of years.

Expiration Date and Legislative Review

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McGee mentioned that the bill also has a sort of “expiration date” in 2029. That means lawmakers can take another look at it by then to decide if it’s still a good idea or if it’s costing the state too much.

Challenges in Federal Approval

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But getting approval from the Federal Government might not be easy. Let’s quickly take a look at what happened in Georgia for some clues as to why. 

Lessons From Georgia

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Georgia tried to expand Medicaid before, but they wanted people to have a job requirement.

This essentially meant anyone aged 19-55 without children or dependents would have to be working, training for work, or performing community service to qualify and remain on Medicaid. People were expected to work a minimum of 20 hours per week to stay on the healthcare coverage.

The Impact of Changing Federal Administrations

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The Federal Government said yes when Trump was President but changed its mind again after Biden took over.

Georgia successfully went to court to try to get the program restored and is currently locked in another related legal battle.

Plans for a Work Requirement

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McGee mentioned that they’re planning on having a work requirement, too, but emphasized that when it comes to Washington, decisions are out of their control.

Bill Contingencies

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If the Federal Government doesn’t give Mississippi the go-ahead by September 30, 2024, part of the bill would still expand Medicaid to folks who make 138% ($20k) of the federal poverty line but without the work requirement.

Non-Traditional Medicaid Expansion

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However, McGee made it clear that this isn’t a typical Medicaid expansion. They’re trying to help more people get health insurance in different ways, like adding co-pays and getting managed care organizations to help with things like job training and financial literacy.

House Democrats’ Mixed Feelings

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Not everyone’s happy with the bill. Some House Democrats are disappointed by the limited scope of the bill. 

Desire for Full Medicaid Expansion

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The more hopeful of them wanted full Medicaid expansion, which they argued would cover even more people.

Commitment to Supporting Any Expansion Efforts

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Despite their disappointment, they’re still willing to support any bill that expands Medicaid in the state. They’re working with other lawmakers to make sure the bill is the best it can be.

Governor Tate Reeves’ Stance on Medicaid Expansion

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Governor of Mississippi Tate Reeves has been outspoken about not backing a Medicaid expansion. 

Reeves’ Opposition 

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He recently wrote on social media, “The Biden Team is overjoyed with what some in Mississippi are planning right now.

Count me amongst those “extreme MAGA Republicans” who think Government should not run health care.”

A Hopeful Outlook 

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Despite Reeves’ opposition, McGee and others are hopeful that if the bill becomes law, Reeves will go along with it.

Remaining Optimistic Amidst Challenges

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While there may be some roadblocks ahead, many in Mississippi are optimistic about the possibility of expanding Medicaid and helping more people get the healthcare they need. Stay tuned for updates.

The post Mississippi Boosts Healthcare Access for Over 210,000 Citizens first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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