Medicaid expansion left out of healthcare discussions with Gover - - Jackson, MS

Medicaid expansion left out of healthcare discussions with Governor

Governor Phil Bryant   Source: WLBT Governor Phil Bryant Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Governor Phil Bryant believes the health care industry is a vital part of the state's economic pulse.

"We're talking about the number of jobs that's been created, almost thousand," said Bryant Wednesday. "The $25 million or more that's been invested across the state just from the private sector."

One medical money topic Bryant left out of the "Healthcare Huddle" discussion was Medicaid expansion. Former president of the State Medical Association, Lamar Weems, doesn't understand why the state keeps rejecting it.

"Hundred of millions of dollars have just been lying on the table and we failed to pick it up," explained Weems. "The failure to take full advantage of the Medicaid program from the standpoint of the state of Mississippi is penny-wise and pound foolish."

Governor Bryant is defending his position that expansion isn't wise. It's an optional part of Obamacare.

"Congress has voted over 41 times to defund the Affordable Care Act. And if the Republicans take the Senate and follow suit, then we will be left holding the funding for 300,000 Medicaid recipients," said the governor. "We simply can't afford that in Mississippi."

Supporters say Medicaid expansion would result in more access to care. No matter what happens, hospitals admit they need a money solution.

The State Hospital Association started looking for alternatives when the legislature first said it would not expand the program. Those hospitals will soon present that plan to state leaders.

"A provider-led model would work much better from a standpoint of quality, efficiency, and care of patients," explained president of the Mississippi Hospital Association Tim Moore.

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