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Reeves, Presley spar in Mississippi governor debate

The first and only debate between Republican Gov. Tate Reeves and Democratic challenger Brandon Presley took place on Wednesday night in Jackson with each candidate sharing their plan for the state if voters were to elect them to Mississippi’s highest office.

While pokes were on full display – with Reeves and Presley not only interrupting but attacking each other on multiple occasions – policies were also shared throughout the one-hour event. With the general election just five days away, here’s a list of the main topics discussed.

Medicaid expansion

The first question of the night from WAPT’s Megan West and Troy Johnson was, to the surprise of few, about the possibility of Mississippi joining 40 other states in expanding Medicaid amid an ongoing healthcare crisis.

Reeves and Presley, who have remained on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to expansion, stuck to their guns and further explained why.

“As governor, I would take steps on day one to expand Medicaid…take the billions of dollars a year, save 34 rural hospitals, get insurance to 230,000 working Mississippians, and create 16,000 good healthcare jobs,” Presley said.

Reeves, previously referring to the idea as “expanding welfare,” argued that Medicaid expansion is not the right route for Mississippi as it could result in thousands being taken off private insurance and forced on Medicaid rolls.

“At the end of the day, we have determined that it does not make sense for the people of Mississippi,” Reeves said. “Taking 100,000 people that are currently on private insurance and putting them on government rolls, that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.”

The GOP incumbent went on to claim that Presley would not have the authority “to do anything on the first day in office” regarding Medicaid expansion, leading his challenger to cite a Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waiver. The waiver, in theory, would offer the state an avenue to test new approaches in Medicaid such as expansion.

“The truth of the matter is, Tate, there is a majority of the House and Senate of Democrats and Republicans right now that want to expand Medicaid and you

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