The future of Mississippi’s healthcare system remains clouded as the governor’s first State of the State address offers ideas and goals.
But those hopeful for a more robust solution to the current crisis – say they’re back to square one.
A recent survey indicated over 70 percent of voters are concerned about healthcare cost – the Millsaps/Chism strategies survey finds 60 percent in favor some kind of Medicaid expansion.
Governor Tate Reeves is opposed to any kind of expansion – and in his state of the state, he addressed healthcare concerns, but did not offer a specific plan.
“We need to incentivize quality healthcare in all regions of the state and protect the small town way life that makes us who we are,” Reeves said.
The governor did offer a vision to bring more doctors to parts of the state where they’re needed.
“I believe that a major expansion of our rural physicians scholarship program will help us get there I believe we must invest in rural residency programs I believe there should be incentives for businesses that contribute to hospitals in rural areas I believe we should expand telemedicine to reduce the cost of care,” Reeves continued.
Governor Reeves’ opposition to Medicaid is no secret, he ran on the issue.
It’s no surprise to Senator Hob Bryan, a Democrat who chairs the Public Health and Welfare committee.
“Governor reeves made it very clear that he was opposed to medicaid expansion, we had an election the people overwhelmingly elected him governor they voted not to have medicaid expansion— elections have consequences,” Bryan said.
Senator Bryan argues Medicaid expansion is a worthwhile investment.
“The state of Mississippi will make money off Medicaid expansion we are losing money for the purpose of refusing to allow Medicaid expansion there is no cost to the state,” he said.
Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann has looked into the issue – but it’s not clear if anything will happen this session.
In the meantime the Northeast Mississippi Democrat says part of his job will be to encourage people to access healthcare that’s available and to educate them on preventive measures.
“Lay people with some training to act out all over the state to encourage people to have better lifestyles and to access what healthcare is available,” he said.
But for now bold healthcare reforms are left in the air as rural hospitals struggle to stay open.