House speaker: Voters may soon be able to vote on Medicaid expansion

Published 8:03 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2024

JACKSON – Speaker Jason White has issued the following statement concerning Medicaid expansion:

“Today, the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Senate recommitted HB 1725, the Medicaid expansion legislation, for further conference and, in the morning, the House will deliver to the Senate a signed conference report to proceed with a statewide ballot referendum on the issue.

“Moving through the final stages of the legislative process, it became apparent that opinions still differed on the best way to address our health care crisis. Throughout the negotiations on this issue, legislators faced challenging conversations and debates, and although we did not always agree on the best pathway, we are united in wanting to provide Mississippi’s low-income population access to quality health care.

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“The referendum process will be two-fold; Mississippians will have the opportunity to vote if they are for Medicaid expansion or not, and if so, should the parameters of the program include a work requirement.

“This year marks my 13th session, and for the first time health care coverage for low-income Mississippians has been in a vehicle with real driving power. I applaud Medicaid Chairman Missy McGee for her tireless dedication and work on this issue, as well as House conferees Joey Hood and Sam Creekmore. I also want to express my appreciation to the business community, religious leaders, community officials and voters for amplifying their support of a healthier Mississippi.

“This session proved that a consensus has formed and we all share the same goal: to provide health care access to low-income Mississippians. Creating a referendum process for this issue is a clear direction forward.

“We hope that our colleagues in the Senate will take this opportunity to finally hear from the electorate once and for all. With a presidential election on the horizon, a robust campaign season with high turnout can be expected.

“For years, the response to Medicaid expansion was not just no, but entirely dismissed; with this ballot referendum, Mississippians will now have a seat at the table on how we improve health care outcomes in our state.”