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Medicaid Expansion Compromise Plan With No Guarantee of Expanded Care Will Get A Vote

Mississippians would have to work 100 hours a month to be eligible for Medicaid expansion under a new compromise plan House and Senate members agreed to minutes before a deadline on Monday evening. But there is no guarantee any Mississippians would benefit even if the bill does become law.

House leaders had opposed the Senate’s strict work requirement because it would prevent Medicaid expansion from taking effect unless the federal government approves the kind of work-requirement waiver that it has rejected in the past. But House lawmakers gave in and agreed to the Senate’s latest proposal minutes before an 8 p.m. deadline on Monday night.

“A compromise requires concessions between the chambers. The Senate requires a real work requirement, but our plan now covers individuals up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level,” Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said in a Monday press release. “This is a good step which would cover thousands more Mississippians than our Medicaid program covers now—and we hope the House will sign on to give us the opportunity to vote on the bill.”

The Senate’s original plan only covered individuals up to 100% of the federal poverty level and required people to work 120 hours per month to be eligible. Under the proposal, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must approve the work requirement for Medicaid expansion to become law in Mississippi. President Joe Biden’s administration has denied work requirement waivers in other states.

Blackwell: Expansion May Depend on Trump Winning

Senate Medicaid Committee Chairman Sen. Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, told the Mississippi Free Press last week that CMS has a better chance of approving a work requirement waiver if Donald Trump wins the presidential election in November.

“Based upon the timing of all this, we may have a different president, and I believe work requirements won’t be an issue,” the Republican chairman said on April 26.

Under the new compromise plan, if CMS denies the waiver, the state could reapply later if CMS changed course and approved another state’s work requirement. The previous Senate compromise plan called for Attorney General Lynn Fitch to

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