Lawmakers fail to reauthorize Medicaid again - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Lawmakers fail to reauthorize Medicaid again

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The state's Medicaid program, which needs funding from lawmakers to even operate, is currently without it for the next budget year. That's thanks to a vote over the weekend and one Monday where democrats managed block the funding legislation from passing.

Democratic Rep. Steve Holland says the block was to show house leadership a demand from democrats to at least have a debate and vote on whether the state should expand the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

"We did it on principal because of our zest and zeal and passion for the working poor of this state," said Holland.

"To vote to not provide funding for that program is just reckless in my opinion," said House Medicaid Chairman Republican Rep. Bobby Howell of Kilmichael.

Howell says there's too many unanswered questions on what impacts an expansion under the federal law would have on Mississippi.

"I understand their desire to debate but we need to wait on further information," said Howell.

Holland says waiting around for more information isn't going to help the estimated 300,000 Mississippians an expansion would add to the state's Medicaid rolls.

"We believe that this federal law provides the kind of venture capital that we need in this state to move forward, to include a large gap of uninsured in an insurance program," said Holland.

Howell says a number of those people will be included in Medicaid without an expansion anyway.

"There are certain mandates in the Affordable Care Act that will expand that population, our present Medicaid population by about 90,000 people," said Howell.

Even with the political divide, lawmakers will now have to continue the battle through a special session which is where some lawmakers expected the debate to head anyway.

"We shall be back in special session or the governor is going to have to call a special session within this session to deal with this issue once again," said Holland.

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