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First-Ever Medicaid Expansion Hearings Held in Mississippi House

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — After years of refusing to expand Medicaid, some of Mississippi’s Republican leaders now say they are open to the policy—if they can require new enrollees to have a job. That approach could hinge on presidential politics and an ongoing legal battle in Georgia.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said Mississippi must consider all options to improve its labor force participation rate and poor health outcomes, both of which are among the worst in the country. Hosemann said Georgia, the only state that requires Medicaid recipients to meet a work requirement, could be a model for Mississippi.

“We need healthy working Mississippians,” Hosemann said. “Georgia’s successful implementation of a work requirement cleared a path for this conversation in Mississippi.”

Georgia and Mississippi are among 10 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid eligibility to include people earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level, or $20,120 annually for a single person. In 2023, Georgia created a less generous program that offered expanded coverage to adults earning up to 100% of the poverty level, or $14,580 for a single person.

Georgia’s program only offers expanded coverage to able-bodied adults if they are working, volunteering, studying or in vocational rehabilitation. The state developed its plan after the Trump administration permitted 13 states to impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients.

The Biden administration revoked all those waivers in 2021, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said people should not face roadblocks to getting health care. But Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration won a federal court fight in 2022 to preserve Georgia’s plan, partly because it applies to new enrollees and not current Medicaid recipients.

The program is set to expire at the end of September 2025. Earlier this month, Georgia sued the Biden administration to try to keep its plan running until 2028.

A bill that would tie a work requirement to Medicaid eligibility has also passed the South Dakota Senate and is awaiting a House hearing.

Even if a Republican is elected president in November,

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