JACKSON, Miss.–The Mississippi House was expected to finish with their part on reauthorizing and refunding Medicaid early enough Friday to send the bills to the Senate. After approval there, those bills must be signed by the governor to get Medicaid going for the next fiscal year, which starts Monday.
The Senate is promising they will be quick once they get the bills.
“As soon as the House sends over bills to reauthorize and fund Medicaid, the Senate will act swiftly as it did during the regular session,” said Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate.
Some critics have said House Democrats took too much time in the Thursday session to debate issues that were not germane to reauthorizing Medicaid, which was why Gov. Bryant called lawmakers back to the capitol, to the tune of $30,000 per day.
Rep. Jim Evans, in his call for the expansion of Medicaid, likened what is happening now to the time of Christ, with peoples’ hands bound, he said. Evans said state “eats the flesh off the poor and robs them of their labor”, then denies them help by not expanding
Others made emotional pleas, saying the Republican administration and Senate and House majority were unfeeling in not allowing the expansion, which would effectively add more than 300,000 to Mississippi’s Medicaid roles. That would mean an entire third of the state’s population would be covered by Medicaid.
Bryant praised the eventual actions of the House, which saw Democrats overwhelmingly passing Medicaid funding, with one dissenting vote.
“While it is regrettable that Democrats have forced the expense of a special session onto taxpayers and even today continued to waste time and resources with political grandstanding, I am pleased with today’s progress. I commend Speaker Gunn for his leadership and thank the House of Representatives for voting to reauthorize and fund the Division of Medicaid. I look forward to working with Lt. Gov. Reeves and the Senate and anticipate their swift action on these matters.”
A hospital bed tax to help fund the state’s portion of the program had not yet been considered. The feds match Mississippi’s contribution.
The special session was expected to end by Friday night after a vote in the House.