Mississippi Medicaid Fight

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

When members of Mississippi's Legislative Black Caucus, all democrats, vowed to push for Medicaid expansion next year, senator and caucus chairman Kenneth Jones of Canton knew it wouldn't be easy.

"We cannot afford in Mississippi to have a 'let them die' attitude and we will not do that," said Jones.

An expansion would mean Medicaid coverage for all Mississippians up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that would be a qualifying income of about $30,000 a year. By expanding the program the state would get about $10 billion in federal money to cover the costs. That would cover a large majority of the more than half a million Mississippians who are currently uninsured.

"I think this is one issue where republicans and democrats need to sit down and say what's best for the state of Mississippi," said Jones.

Some republican counterparts may not entertain that idea. After the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, allowing states to opt out of an expansion, speaker of the house Philip Gunn came out against it.

"This act will be a budget-buster for our state and an additional burden on the taxpayers," said Gunn.

Gunn joined with Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and Governor Phil Bryant in opposition to an expansion saying the state can't afford it. Reeves says an expansion would come with a state expense of about $1.7 billion over the next ten years. Jones recognizes budgetary constraints but says with the state spending money in areas like voter ID, why not put money in Medicaid.

"If there are some concerns about the finances then let's go ahead and see what we can do without jeopardizing the rest of our budget," said Jones.

Even with republicans, and their opposition, in control of both the house and senate, it doesn't mean these democratic lawmakers aren't going to try.

"If this is going to be a divisive issue with the state of Mississippi then so be it," said Jones. "We're going to let it be a divisive issue because we're going to fight for this more so than we've fought for anything else."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by honeywell Location: therealworld on Jul 9, 2012 at 10:46 PM
    When an elderly person enters the nursing home, and they have assets over 4000.00, receive more than 2400 a month in income, who do you think pays for it. So is it fair for my grandma to have 400,000.00 in assets and she give it away to me and my family and let the rest of the tax payers pay her bill. It cost 6200 a month to be in a nursing home, if her income is only 2300, then when she dies, and the state wants x amount of dollars (not the full difference for every month) who should pay, the family with the 400,000.00 worth of assets or the tax payers. If you want everyone to pay their own way then should it not go for this family as well, just a thought.
  • by honeywell Location: therealworld on Jul 9, 2012 at 10:35 PM
    @Cindy and what's needed, although you have the right idea all of your information is not correct. No one draws a check from Medicare, and you do not have to give your home and money away 5 years before you die. This is the misinformation that scares the heck out of people.
  • by NursingStudent Location: Meridian on Jul 9, 2012 at 05:25 PM
    I'm amazed at how little people know about our assistance programs! Right now an unemployed person can receive foodstamps, welfare, Medicaid, and tuition assistance...TANF will even give them gas money to go to school plus they qualify for daycare assistance. Unfortunately, people like my husband, who works 40+ hours a week, and I, a full time nursing student and a part time employee, can not receive assistance because we WORK! It does not matter that our jobs do not offer insurance or that we can not pay outright for insurance. We must pay $75 plus prescriptions to see a doctor when we get sick! Everyone is so worried about helping people who don't work....SURPRISE...that's the only people getting help. The rest of us get slammed with an $28,000 medical bill for emergency surgery and the sugar coated well you work so we can't help you! Sad to say it but, it pays more to not work than to pull yourself up and do more in life. Free food, free healthcare, free housing, $7,000-$10,000 to go to school and drop before the semester is over...why work? Why don't we stop bickering and move to stop the drain on our economy? Maybe then we could take better care of our elderly and our children might not have to attend schools that are ranked lowest in the nation!
    • reply
      by Retired Nurse of 29 yrs. on Jul 10, 2012 at 06:47 AM in reply to NursingStudent
      AMEN, AMEN, AMEN, to the student nurse. Been there, done that. I had four children when I was in nsg. school. No help. It was all we could do to make it. When I applied for assistance, I was told,"YOU make too much". My husband and four children done without a lot of things we needed. I am not for any assistance in going to college. If u want to go bad enough you will work and save every penny u can get your hands on.
  • by Taxpayer Location: Meridian on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:00 AM
    imho, government assistance and unemployment offices should be in the same computer data base. If a person who is not working applies for tax payer assistance, he should automatically be enrolled in a job hunt. If a job becomes available to which he says NO, the money should be cut off. No job should be beneath anyone who is looking for a hand-out. I also agree that drug testing should be mandatory for people to receive government assistance.
  • by What is needed Location: Meridian on Jul 7, 2012 at 08:23 AM
    You know, everyone that has worked deserves to draw a medicare check when they retire. After you retire, if your retirement check is too much,( say 2,333.00 a month,) you are in for it when you become sick and in need of nursing care in a nursing home. You will have to exhaust all of your savings,except for 4,ooo dollars, sell your home that you worked all your life to pay for, give it all to satisfy Medicade, and then you will qualify for Medicade assistance. We should be the ones that need help. You can't even give your money to your children unless you sign your home and savings over to them 5 years before you die. A lot of people do not know this. Working people are working to support those who never worked for anything. They get Medicade from day one. Something is very wrong with this picture.
  • by Shadow Location: At Home! on Jul 7, 2012 at 05:20 AM
    One way that they have started to pay for this crap is the massive layoffs that have been happening to medicaid employees!
  • by cindy Location: ms on Jul 6, 2012 at 02:40 PM
    Why is the side for expanding medicaid called a black caucus? that in itself sounds racist. Are all the people on medicaid black? and then you hear some people saying that folks on medicaid are lazy, drugs addicts, bottom feeders who don't want to work. Is that what black people want to be identified with? I don't think everyone on medicaid are lazy folks who don't want to work. Do you know that some people on disability are also on medicaid if their income and assets puts them at proverty level? Some of those people are highly educated but have illness that prohibits them from working. Not all people on disability even pay for or use medicare. They may be on their spouses insurance and actually pay federal income taxes on their Social security benefits. These generalizations about people are nothing more than prejudices.
  • by single mom Location: meridian on Jul 6, 2012 at 11:43 AM
    You know not every one on assistance is a drug user or does not work... I work and take care of my son with no help from his dad. Maybe if jobs paid more people would not have to have assistance
    • reply
      by reply to single mom on Jul 10, 2012 at 01:33 PM in reply to single mom
      Then get the welfare after that dead beat dad.
  • by Andrew Location: Meridian on Jul 6, 2012 at 08:29 AM
    @Mark. I agree drug use is a major problem, and many recipients of government assistance could definitely shape up, having been one I know. I have lost weight, but many times people end up on government assistance because they can't find a job that will take them. Over the last ten years I have applied for many jobs to much disappointments. The ones I did get from time to time didn't pay well enough to meet the demands of my medical expenses at the time. When you can't find a job that will pay for your expenses, you become more tempted to do things like drink and do drugs because you get mad because no one will pay you right, give you enough hours, nada. Prices go up, up, and away with very few companies covering the cost of living adjustments. There are also times when people won't hire you because they think that you can't do the job because you messed up in the past or you have a scar on your head, so you must be _________. Also, it would be smart if the government took to the philosophy of If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you will feed him for the rest of his life. Many people have no idea about things like kudzu, which has edible leaves(the younger leaves). Many people don't know how to skin a fish or grow a garden. Teach people how to make ends meet, and we will see change.
  • by just sayin..... Location: Meridian on Jul 6, 2012 at 08:02 AM
    People are taxed on money thet earn, money they spend, money the save, everything you have is taxed or has been taxed. Now that Obama Care has passed and you do not buy insurance they are going to tax you. Pretty good of the G'ment to tax you for everything you have and now start taxing you for things you DON'T have. Whats next, taxing everyone for not having a new car, or buying a new house????? Time for a house cleaning in D.C. Take America back for the American people. Quit giving our money away to foreign countries that hate us quit giving it to illegal immigrants and career freeloaders.
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