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Medicaid Expansion Passes Mississippi House With Veto-Proof 98-20 Majority: ‘A Moral Imperative’

A vote for Medicaid expansion won a veto-proof majority in the Mississippi House on Wednesday afternoon. It’s the first time either legislative chamber in Mississippi has held a vote on Medicaid expansion, which could extend eligibility to at least 200,000 working Mississippians, since it became an option under former President Barack Obama’s 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“Beyond the policy and politics of this issue, what we really have before us is the solution to a fundamental challenge: Access to health care,” Mississippi House Medicaid Chairwoman Missy McGee, R-Hattiesburg, said as she introduced House Bill 1725 to her colleagues on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s a topic that should transcend politics and economics, for at its core it is about the wellbeing and dignity for every Mississippian. Providing opportunities for health insurance is not just a matter of policy, it is a moral imperative and a reflection of the values of our state.”

Read H.B. 1725, the Mississippi House Medicaid expansion bill

The Republican chairwoman presided Tuesday as the House Medicaid Committee unanimously advanced the Medicaid expansion bill to the House floor after hearing experts testify that it could reduce the State’s abysmal health-care rankings and help keep rural hospitals afloat.

“Unfortunately, we as lawmakers can often find ourselves being accustomed to some of the negative indicators regarding our state’s quality of life. We hear them a lot,” McGee said on the House floor Wednesday afternoon. “But what we have to remember is that these statistics aren’t simply numbers on a page; they reflect the tough circumstances faced by actual people. They show the poor conditions experienced by many of our citizens. We need to feel these things. We need to feel the fact that Mississippians have the shortest life expectancy in the nation. We need to face the fact that we have the highest rate of preventable deaths, meaning more Mississippians die unnecessarily than anywhere else. And the reason these things often occur is poor access or no access to care.”

Reeves Still Opposes Medicaid Expansion

For years, former Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn, a Republican who openly opposed

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