Hospital administrators are pushing Mississippi lawmakers to expand Medicaid, an option under President Barack Obama's health care law that state Republicans have so far resisted pursuing.
Some hospital CEOs say they might be forced to lay off employees if, as expected, their facilities lose millions of federal dollars they've been receiving to treat uninsured patients.
Expanding Medicaid could help fill hospitals' financial gap by covering an estimated 300,000 people, mostly those working low-wage jobs with no private health coverage.
Fiscally conservative lawmakers could find themselves in a bind. They don't want to increase the number of people on a government entitlement program. But, they also don't want to be blamed if hospitals or other health care providers start cutting jobs.