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House minority leader bludgeons Senate over Medicaid plan: ‘Might as well not expand’

Lawmakers in the Senate came out with a dimmed version of Medicaid expansion earlier this week, and some House leaders weren’t too thrilled to hear about it.

House Minority Leader Robert Johnson took exception with his cross-chamber counterparts completely gutting an approved House bill that would have expanded Medicaid with a tentative work requirement up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and instead replacing it with one that only goes up to 99 percent with a strict work requirement. On Thursday, the Democrat from Natchez said the Senate plan not only would not help enough people but it would be bound for a courtroom as it somewhat mirrors a Georgia plan that has been subject to two years’ worth of litigation.

“The Senate plan looks a lot like the Georgia plan that is in litigation right now. The Georgia plan that serves 3,500 people in a state as large as Georgia, so it just doesn’t make much sense to me,” Johnson said during an appearance on MidDays with Gerard Gibert. “If all we’re going to get is the Senate plan, then we might as well not expand Medicaid.”

There are a few points of contention between the House and Senate plans to expand Medicaid, one of which is the contingency of a work requirement. The way the House bill was written before being scrapped by the Senate, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would have had until Sept. 30, 2024, to approve Mississippi’s bid to require people to work 20 hours a week for an employer who does not offer insurance if they want to receive government-provided coverage. If CMS denied the application, full-force Medicaid expansion would then go into effect.

In the Senate’s plan, CMS would have to approve a 40-hour-a-week work requirement, or the plan would be null and void.

Secondly, the House and Senate differ on how many people to extend coverage to. While the Senate plan would have the capability to cover up to 74,000 people, Johnson fears that it could end up like Georgia’s where strict stipulations and courtroom activity

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