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Reeves vs. Presley: What to know about Mississippi’s governor debate

The heat surrounding the Mississippi governor’s race will be turned up a notch when incumbent Republican Tate Reeves and Democratic challenger Brandon Presley take the stage Wednesday night in Jackson.

The hour-long debate, which will be put on by WAPT-TV and moderated by Megan West along with Troy Johnson, will be the only time voters get a chance to see the gubernatorial candidates go head-to-head prior to Election Day on Nov. 7.

As for what topics will be discussed, here are a few voters can expect to hear about and what each candidate has said so far during their time on the campaign trail.

Medicaid expansion

The two candidates have remained on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to expanding Medicaid. While Presley claims he will expand coverage on day one in office if elected, Reeves has been steadfast in his opinion that Medicaid expansion is nothing but “expanding welfare.”

“We need more people in the workforce,” Reeves said during a recent press conference. “So, adding 300,000 able-bodied Mississippians to the welfare rolls I would argue is a bad idea.”

Presley, on the other hand, has pointed to studies that show a majority of those who would be covered under expansion are working individuals whose employers do not provide health insurance and cannot afford private coverage.

“It is ridiculous to think that giving 230,000 working people health care because they’re working is somehow welfare,” Presley said with the Mississippi Press Association over the summer. “That’s just totally ridiculous.”

Presley has continued to preach his belief that the only reason Reeves has not hopped on board is because the idea was put into action by former President Barack Obama.

“Now there’s one reason Tate Reeves is not expanding Medicaid,” Presley said at a September forum in Jones County. “It’s because a Democratic president passed the Affordable Care Act…If Donald Trump had passed the Affordable Care Act and 230,000 people in the state would benefit, I’d be for it in five seconds because it’s not about the politics; it’s about the people.”

As of date, 40 states and Washington, D.C.

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