Vicki Slater on Health Care
A: Yes, I'm in favor of that.
Q: If the Legislature doesn't expand Medicaid, would you use your power as governor to expand the program?
A: As governor, I would do everything that I could as executive officer to effect Medicaid expansion. I believe some actions would be necessary by the Legislature. I'm not convinced that the Legislature would reject it; I think it could be worked out. If we had accepted the Medicaid expansion money, that would have created 139,000 jobs. Rural hospitals are economic drivers in their communities. It's really hurt Mississippi jobs and economy to reject that money. That should be first priority. Other states that have Republican governors have accepted those monies. The governor remains steadfast in his refusal.
When uninsured residents require care, taxpayers are forced to cover the cost. Additionally, a 2009 study estimated that more than 300 Mississippians die annually due to a lack of coverage. Insuring Mississippians will save lives, save our state money and protect our hospitals from financial ruin.
There is Federal money available to insure thousands of working Mississippi families. By refusing those monies, Governor Bryant has left 138,000 working Mississippians without access to health insurance coverage. As governor, I will negotiate a fair deal with Washington that brings Medicaid expansion dollars to our state. My goal will be that every hard-working Mississippi family has access to care, and that Mississippians get healthier.
"We should be celebrating the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act, but Phil Bryant has resorted to calling names and attacking the President, the Supreme Court & Congress instead of being a leader for Mississippians. Phil Bryant's refusal to accept Medicaid dollars is an injustice for people in our state.
"It is wrong to deny working Mississippians access to health care, which would keep Mississippi families healthier and more financially secure. It would also grow our economy, creating thousands of new jobs and keeping hospitals across the state from closing. But Governor Bryant is letting our money go to other states.
"There are Mississippians dying because they do not have access to health care, and all Phil Bryant is doing is calling names. This is yet another example of Phil Bryant's failed leadership."