Thursday, February 14, 2013

House reconsiders Medicaid bill, Dems respond

The Speaker of the House of Representatives issued this press release concerning Medicaid earlier this afternoon:

Mississippi House of Representatives to Reconsider House Medicaid Bill

Jackson, MS—This afternoon, the House Rules Committee called up and considered Senate Bill 2207 (SB2207), the Medicaid repealer extension bill passed by the Senate last week. The bill was tabled in committee and therefore will not move to the House floor for debate.

“The decision to kill the Senate Medicaid Technical bill was not made lightly,” said Speaker Gunn. “However, there are not enough votes in the House to expand Medicaid. Because of this, the House was faced with what would have been a long and divisive debate on the issue of expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, which would have served no purpose and would have ended with the bill being defeated. I said two weeks ago after House Democratic leadership advised its members to defeat the House Medicaid Technical bill that it was a misguided and premature decision on their part.

“Allowing Obamacare to expand Medicaid in Mississippi is not an option today,” he said.

Speaker Gunn said the House Democratic leadership has the opportunity to encourage House Democrats to vote with the House Republicans tomorrow and reconsider the House Medicaid Technical bill, House Bill 560 (HB560). This is the last option for the bill that gives Medicaid legislative oversight to survive. Without a technical bill, the Governor will have to run the Medicaid program by executive order.

“Until we have a clearer understanding of all the ramifications of Obamacare and its proposed expansion in Mississippi, there will not be a debate in the Mississippi House of Representatives,” continued Speaker Gunn.

Friday morning, House members will be asked to reconsider and pass HB560. The bill would essentially accomplish the same thing as SB2207. However the Senate bill, which does not have Medicaid expansion in it, would have allowed for an amendment to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

“House Bill 560 is carefully drafted to forbid Obamacare expansion; so, we find it prudent to discard the Senate bill and use our own instead,” said Speaker Gunn. “If HB560 passes, the Medicaid program will continue as it now exists. If it fails, Medicaid’s continued existence will be in doubt, and many of Mississippi’s children, patients in nursing homes and some of our most vulnerable citizens will be at risk.

“The Governor may well have to step in and run the program through executive order,” he said. “I encourage House members to pass HB560 tomorrow and move the process along to the Senate. This is the best course of action to continue providing services to the beneficiaries of the current Medicaid program.”

However, the Democrats issued their own press release:

Republicans Try Brinkmanship on Medicaid

Jackson, MS- This afternoon, the House Rules Committee killed S.B. 2207, a measure that would extend the repealers on various provisions of Mississippi’s Medicaid program and allow for the consideration of Medicaid expansion.

Proponents of Medicaid expansion say that in the long-term, expansion will save both state and federal dollars while extending healthcare coverage to thousands of lower-income Mississippians. In Mississippi, expansion would also mean jobs by improving Mississippi’s healthcare workforce.

By tabling S.B. 2207, House Republicans are attempting to shut down the conversation on Medicaid expansion in Mississippi. As a result of the Rules Committee’s actions, the only remaining Medicaid bill is H.B. 560, a measure that failed to pass in the House and is currently being held on a Motion to Reconsider. H.B. 560 does not contain any of the code sections that would allow for Medicaid expansion.

House Democratic Caucus Leader Bobby Moak (D-Bogue Chitto) said, “Republicans are again proving that they are not interested in an open and honest discussion on Medicaid. If they were, they would allow Mississippians the benefit of considering this important issue with all options on the table.”

Moak added, “House Democrats will not abide false deadlines or political ploys on this issue. We are ready to kill every bill that comes before us that does not allow for a full vetting of the crucial question of Medicaid expansion. Any attempt by Republicans to suggest that they don’t have options to revive a Medicaid bill is nonsense. They have the Governor’s mansion, the Senate and the House. If a Medicaid bill doesn’t pass in the next month its because Republicans are more interested in playing politics than doing their jobs.”


Anonymous said...

Strong move by Gunn.

Anonymous said...

Realism...Republican common sense for the short term. Obamacare proving itself as a viable health program will not really convince Republicans on the issue.

Anonymous said...

Obamacare proving itself as a viable health program ...

The proof will never arrive.

Anonymous said...

The United States has a healthcare delivery and a higher education system that works for the providers not the subjects. A Medicaid card or a private healthcare insurance card is not a ticket to a long, productive life. Nor is a college degree. Government can only get you half the way. A job with employer-provided health card will not, in itself, unlock longevity and prosperity. A healthy citizenry grows out of thrift and self-government not government healthcare design. Politically designed industries mire the people in ignorance and dependency.

Anonymous said...

Where is the $2500 drop in premiums Captain Teleprompter promised?

Anonymous said...

Speaker just lost. Both Medicaid bills dead. Gives power to the Governor.

bill said...

Sorry, Democrats, but majority rules, and the majority has made it clear that any additional discussion of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare is off the table. If the Medicaid bill doesn't pass it will be the fault of the ones who voted no, not the ones who voted yes.

Anonymous said...

Calvinistic theology doesn't relate to providing government services. Media outlets will lay out the government healthcare metrics without theology hopefully and the candidates will have to dance with the numbers as best they can.

If government takes the citizens half the way and the balance is up to the individual citizen, then perhaps the government should do its part. The government has given the laboring citizen a national 'minimum wage', a national retirement system, and a national poverty threshold to start the citizen on the way to "life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness". Since the Supreme Court and the recent election failed to halt Obamacare it moves on. Earthly government is faulty, but necessary. Washington's head is on the dollar bill not John Calvin, Speaker Gunn, or Governor Bryant.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:14, that was why his move was the correct one (from a conservative's point of view). If the bill was resurrected, his vehicle was alive and he split the Democrats. If it lost (but he maintained Republican and majority support), then he has the high-road and a like-minded Governor gets to run the program. Now, if the Governor and his team can sharpen their scalpels the state may be able to make a few trims and run Medicaid even more efficiently.

Anonymous said...

Phil Bryant running an agency efficiently? hahaha. hahaha. Great joke. Look at what his agencies have done under his leadership, especially Medicaid.

Anonymous said...

Hate to say it, 11:22, but Medicaid is being run much better under the appointee of Bryant than it ever was under the crook (Robinson) that was in charge the last several years.

And, 10:14, the Speaker didn't lose. His preferred option - the House bill, was defeated by the Dems again. But it is still a win - there is no Medicaid expansion option available unless they revive the Senate bill. Which there is no reason for them to do. As long as Appropriations are made for Medicaid, it can be run without the legislative "authorization".

Under that scenario, Medicaid can finally be run as an agency should. For far too long Mississippi Medicaid has been micromanaged by the legislature. Moreso than any other state's legislative requirements. Under EO, the department can make some much needed adjustments.

Congrats, Speaker!

Anonymous said...

Our constitution divides the powers. Lawmakers make the laws in assembly, then the Governor signs them and executes them faithfully. Are we getting outside the organic law?

Anonymous said...

No, the Legislature will still be appropriating money for the operation of Medicaid and the Governor will execute the operation. Only difference may be that the Governor will not be hamstrung by the Legislature's detailing every little detail of the operation.

Jack said...

“Until we have a clearer understanding of all the ramifications of Obamacare and its proposed expansion in Mississippi, there will not be a debate in the Mississippi House of Representatives,” continued Speaker Gunn.

Pretty amazing logic, regardless of which side of the aisle you're on.

Anonymous said...

Surprising move by Gunn. Took balls.

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