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Gov. Bryant Stands Beside Not Expanding Medicaid in State

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 16 Apr 2013 05:49am | comments
Governor Phil Bryant is standing by his decision not to expand Medicaid in Mississippi. It comes as the Presidents budget proposal last week calls for a one year delay in some reductions to Medicaid payments to hospitals.
 
Republican Governor Phil Bryant says he is encouraged by President Barack Obama's proposal to delay cuts to hospitals that treat indigent patients.
 
"States like Mississippi that are not expanding Medicaid can save the federal government literally trillions of dollars over the next decade, but simply by restoring and not cutting, if you will, Medicaid and Medicare will help continue to support our hospitals, we think that is important," says Bryant. 

GOP leaders in the state hope the Presidents budget proposal will stop Mississippi Democrats from blocking reauthorization of Medicaid before funding expires June 30th. But even with President Obama's proposal House Medicaid Committee member, Cecil Brown of Jackson says it doesn't change the debate over expanding Medicaid coverage in Mississippi.   
 
"In addition to that, the Medicare cuts are happening October 1, nobody has talked about stalling those, they're going to devastate our hospitals," says Brown.   We've got to do something to offset the losses hospitals are going to see and the federal government is talking about reimbursing us 100 percent for that for the next three years so this is an economic development issue, this is an issue of jobs it's also an issue of not losing jobs in our local communities."
 
As lawmakers wrapped up their 2013 legislative session the reauthorization of Medicaid failed amid a partisan dispute over whether to expand Medicaid under the health law that President Obama signed in 2010. In order to keep the program running Governor Bryant will have to call for a special session before July first.  
   
"As doon as the Democratic party's leadership decides that they're going to quit holding the current Medicaid population hostage, if they will call me, I'll call a special session, we'll get this done and we can go on about our business," says Bryant.
 
There are about 600,000 Mississippians on Medicaid.  

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