JACKSON, Miss. (MISSISSIPPI TODAY) – After years of partisan fear and loathing and failed attempts in the Legislature, health care and racial justice advocates want Mississippi voters to force the issue and expand Medicaid at the ballot box.
A nonprofit incorporated by the president of the Mississippi Hospital Association and others has filed preliminary paperwork to start ballot Initiative 76, which would put Medicaid expansion in the state constitution, draw down billions of dollars in federal funds and provide health care to potentially hundreds of thousands of working, low-income, uninsured Mississippians.
Mississippi is one of just 12 states that has refused to expand Medicaid, leaving hundreds of thousands of citizens without the ability to afford health care coverage and rejecting at least $1 billion per year in federal funds.
“Hospitals and our working poor across the state of Mississippi cannot keep waiting,” MHA President Tim Moore told Mississippi Today on Monday. “There’s all the federal money we are leaving in D.C., our taxpayer dollars that we need to bring back to help our citizens. We do that with everything else, accept federal help, but for some reason not with this.
“It’s time to let the Mississippi voters decide.”
The planning stages of the ballot initiative signals a broad coalition may be on board with the effort. Corey Wiggins, the executive director of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP, has worked closely with Moore and others on launching the initiative.