Mississippi lawmakers are holding onto a chance to debate Medicaid expansion in the next few weeks, even though the governor and other Republicans oppose growth in the program.
With no debate Wednesday, the Senate passed a bill designed to keep Medicaid in business after the budget year ends June 30.
Democratic Sen. Hob Bryan, of Amory, says the bill could be changed later to expand Medicaid, as allowed by the federal health overhaul that President Barack Obama signed in 2010.
Mississippi has about 3 million residents, and more than 640,000 are on Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the needy. Expansion could add roughly 300,000.
Senate Bill 2207 moves to the House.
Some lawmakers want more information about whether hospitals will take a financial hit without Medicaid expansion.