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Gov. Reeves disputes claim he said Medicaid expansion ‘would be good for Mississippians’

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves
Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

Former University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones made an appearance at the capitol building in Jackson Thursday, telling reporters that Gov. Tate Reeves previously admitted to him that Medicaid expansion would be beneficial.

The surprising reveal from Jones came during a press conference with House and Senate minority leaders following the Republican-led legislature’s decision to kill off 17 bills that would have expanded Medicaid amid the state’s ongoing healthcare crisis.

“After a few moments of conversation, [Reeves] put his hands up and said, ‘Chancellor, I recognize that it would be good for Mississippians, it would be good for our economy, good for health care if we expand Medicaid,’” Jones recounted from a 2015 visit with Reeves. “I had a big smile on my face, and I said, ‘Governor, I’m so glad to hear that. I’m glad to hear you support Medicaid expansion.’ His response: ‘Oh no, I’m not going to support it, because it’s not in my political interest.”

The comment from Jones, who worked in multiple administrative roles at the University of Mississippi Medical Center prior to serving as the university’s chancellor from 2009-2015, has since been disputed by Reeves – a self-proclaimed staunch opponent of Medicaid expansion.

“This is obviously a lie,” Reeves wrote in a tweet thread. “I’d bet I hadn’t talked to this dude since well before he was fired from Ole Miss, and I never would have said this. Do you believe he has held this ‘juicy scoop’ for 8 years? Through 2019? And remembered it just before a presser with Democrats in 2023.”

“It’s just not true,” Reeves continued. “It would be easier for me politically to roll over and let the liberals have this one. I just don’t believe this is the right thing to do – and I’m always going to do what’s right!”

Mississippi, which currently has 38 hospitals in danger of closing, is one of just 11 states who has refused Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

While Democrats continue to vouch for Medicaid expansion, Republicans have argued that both short-term and long-term solutions can be found without doing so.

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