Petitioning starts for plan to expand Mississippi Medicaid

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FILE – Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves delivers his State of the State speech on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Jackson, Miss. Congress just sweetened the incentives for states to extend Medicaid insurance coverage to more low-income adults, but the dozen Republican-controlled states that have spent years resisting expanding the programs have no plans to change course now. Gov. Reeves says he’s not going for it, noting that his stance was a major issue in his 2019 campaign. His GOP primary opponents supported a plan to expand, with the state’s share being paid for by hospitals and a fee of up to $20 a month for people who signed up. He opposed it, even as the Mississippi Hospital Association said it could bring up to 19,000 jobs to the state. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, file)

MADISON, Miss. — Mississippi health care professionals are the first to sign petitions that would put Medicaid expansion on the November 2022 ballot. They signed in support of Initiative 76 on Tuesday.

Mississippi is one of 12 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid to people working low-paid jobs without health insurance. Expansion is an option under the Affordable Care Act signed in 2010 then-President Barack Obama.

Medicaid already covers more than 763,500 Mississippi residents — about 25% of the population. Expansion could add another 200,000.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves says the state can’t afford that. Hospital leaders say Mississippi is losing billions of dollars by not expanding the program.

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