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Governor Haslam Will Not Expand Medicaid Coverage Right Now

Governor Bill Haslam made his long-awaited decision on expanding Medicaid on March 27th, where he announced that he would not expand Medicaid coverage now, but perhaps later, under the right circumstances.  The governor made the much anticipated announcement in an address to a joint session of the Tennessee General Assembly.  The governor said he would not recommend Tennessee move toward accepting billions of federal dollars made available for expanding TennCare under the Affordable Care Act.  Instead he offered what he called the “Tennessee Plan”, a hybrid plan similar to what has been proposed in Arkansas, who chose to use the federal funds to purchase private insurance plans for eligible recipients. 

 Nationally, the American Heart Association has come out in favor of expanding Medicaid to improve health care for low-income families and individuals.  In Tennessee, the expansion of Medicaid would mean more than 181,000 low-income Tennesseans would be provided the security of quality health coverage in the first year.  It is still unclear as to what impact Governor Haslam’s decision will have in its current form.

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Mississippi Medicaid Expansion, To Be Continued...

On Wednesday, March 27th, over 200 people were in attendance to advocate at the press conference held at the MS State Capitol asking state legislators to please consider options to provide more access and better quality healthcare for Mississippians.

Over the Easter weekend and on Monday, April 1st, the House failed to pass the Medicaid appropriations bill.  This was a strategic move made in order to keep the likelihood of having a debate and vote on Medicaid expansion possible during a special session.  However, even if the appropriations had passed, the Division of Medicaid will sunset on July 1st because 2 weeks earlier, the vote to re-authorize the division failed.  The Governor will now have to call a special session to continue to work on Medicaid and Medicaid expansion. 

The AHA and other organizations are working to improve health care coverage for low-income families and individuals is critically important to our efforts in making Mississippi healthier through Medicaid.  Medicaid is an important lifeline for low-income patients to receive the care that they so desperately need. Moreover, increased coverage is the gateway to improving public health and reducing the chronic disease burden in Mississippi.  We are at a critical point in this fight, which is why the AHA has joined forces with organizations including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Catholic Charities, Forest General Hospital, and the Mississippi Economic Policy Center just to name a few.  We have formed a coalition called Mississippi Health Care Access to advocate for better access and quality of health care for Mississippians. 

By expanding health care to more Mississippians, we will in turn, save lives and save money by creating a healthier Mississippi and a healthier workforce.  For more information about the coalition, go to www.accessms.org.

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Mississippi Medicaid?

This week, the last bill alive (Senate Bill 2207) that would re-authorize the state's Medicaid program died. However, a House Medicaid hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 11th at 1:00 pm at the State Capitol.  

The American Heart Association and other organizations are working to improve health care coverage for low-income families and individuals. This is critically important to our efforts in making Mississippi healthier through Medicaid. Medicaid is an important lifeline for low-income patients to receive the care that they so desperately need. Moreover, increased coverage is the gateway to improving public health and reducing the chronic disease burden in Mississippi. 

We are looking for heart disease and stroke patients who are not covered by Medicaid or do not have insurance.  If you know of anyone that  fits into either of these categories, please have them reach out to us at katherine.bryant@heart.org

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