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Hosemann: Lessons from voter ID law can drive healthcare reform legislation

In 2011, as your Secretary of State, when I proposed a new policy to protect your vote — and the integrity of our elections — I was told repeatedly that Mississippi’s newly enacted Voter ID law would not pass constitutional muster. The U.S. Department of Justice will single out Mississippi, they said, and they will sue in federal court to stop our Voter ID law.

These gloom and doom predictions never happened.

Instead, voters overwhelmingly supported the Voter ID measure on the ballot with 62 percent of the vote. Subsequently, I went to visit with lawyers at the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice to discuss how we were going to implement the Voter ID law.

Mississippi was never sued or stopped from bringing about real election integrity. Today, we have the strongest Voter ID law which has been successful in securing our elections and there has been no expensive lawsuits trying to stop us.

Now, as your Lt. Governor, I believe if approached the right way, we could have the same outcome with a plan to reform healthcare and extend coverage to thousands of working Mississippians.

This past legislative session, the final offer from the Senate, before talks broke down between the chambers, would have extended healthcare coverage to people making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (less than $43,056 for a family of four) through a form of a hybrid plan utilized by other states and paid for by healthcare organizations.

The proposal also included a work requirement for anyone eligible for this type of healthcare coverage, with notable exceptions for people taking care of young children, students pursuing a higher degree or certificate, and others.

Since 2019, when I went on record as one of the first statewide Republicans who supported exploring healthcare reform options, I have been clear that in any proposal, I support a real work requirement.

With a labor force participation rate of 53.7 percent in Mississippi, the lowest in the country, it is important we incentivize and support people who get a job and provide for their families. A real work requirement provision in healthcare reform legislation is a bottom line for my fellow Republicans in the Senate too.

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