The reactions of local lawmakers to the failure of medicaid expansion

During a legislative breakfast held on May 16, Sen. Jason Barrett and Rep. Becky Currie from Lincoln County shared their thoughts on the Mississippi legislature’s failure to expand Medicaid. Despite efforts to expand it, talks broke down at the end of the session, resulting in the unfortunate demise of the initiative.

According to Barrett, it is a matter of pride that the legislature engaged in a detailed discussion about a particular bill. However, he also noted that the focus of the legislature is not on having an open debate but rather on gaining votes before the session without giving legislators enough time to read the bills. Medicaid was one such bill that faced this issue.

Barrett stated that it would be irresponsible of him to vote for a bill that is lengthy and has a short timeframe. He further explained that this year, the house and senate had different Medicaid bills, and he voted against the senate bill because it was a direct copy of Georgia’s bill with a work requirement.

According to the proposed plan, Medicaid recipients would have been required to work for at least 30 hours per week, which would have been enough to meet the poverty level. However, obtaining a federal waiver would have been necessary to implement this work requirement. Barrett confirmed that he voted against the bill.

Barrett expressed concern over the state of Georgia’s work requirement, stating that it has become a complete disaster for our hospitals. He further added that the requirement has led to an enormous administrative cost of $22 million in just four months.

During the Joe Biden administration, 11 out of the 12 Medicaid expansion bills that included a work requirement were rejected. However, it is worth noting that Georgia’s work requirement bill was approved during the previous administration under Donald Trump.

According to Barrett, he advised Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann to submit the application for the work requirement and focus on extending the legislation in January. He expressed that obtaining the approval would be a significant achievement. Additionally, there have been discussions about giving the voters the opportunity to make the final decision.

Barrett expressed her desire to become the voice of the people. She believes that the initiative process provides a medium for individuals to express their opinions when their sole representation is through their elected officials. Barrett’s support for a referendum on healthcare was unfortunately unsuccessful as the initiative did not pass.

He expressed his openness to receiving comments and questions.

As per the nurse’s viewpoint

As a registered nurse, Republican Rep. Becky Currie found the Medicaid expansion bill to be the most challenging issue this year. Despite her political affiliation, she comprehends the significance of Medicaid expansion.

During the discussions in the House, Currie stated that a simple bill was utilized and then forwarded to the Senate where productive conversations were held. However, as negotiations progressed between the conferees, the talks eventually reached an impasse and were unable to continue.

In her role as a nurse, she shed light on one of the key factors that contribute to high hospital bills – the fact that the paying customer covers the expenses of those who cannot pay. Her passion lies in assisting people and making a positive impact in their lives.

Currie believes that the healthcare system is flawed and has become increasingly complicated. He acknowledges the existence of fraud and abuse within the system, making it difficult for the general public to access quality healthcare. However, he is willing to extend his services to Walmart employees and the working poor, as well as those who do not work. Currie emphasizes the need to address these issues and keep a close eye on rebate money to ensure that things are running smoothly. He is frustrated with the lack of progress in the healthcare industry and hopes to spark change.

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MBS Staff
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