Medicaid Expansion: Republican Candidates Avoid Reasoned Positions Or Straight Answers

By MississippI PEP Staff | January 15th, 2019 at 5:40 pm

BY: MississippI PEP Staff /

The MS PEP Staff consists of a number of volunteers across the state dedicated to sharing news and commentary important to conservatives.

Filed Under: Delbert Hosemann, Democrats, Elections, Governor, Insurance, Jim Hood, Leadership, Legislature, Medicaid, Medical Care, Mississippi, Mississippi State Senate, MS State Government, News, Obamacare, Politics, Principles of Freedom, Republican, Tate Reeves

Democrat candidates for both offices provide definitive answers on their support for expansion. Only one Republican candidate for governor, Tate Reeves, provides a clear answer against expanding Medicaid in Missippi. However, he provided no deeper explanation as to his reasoning except the somewhat generic explanation of “protecting taxpayers.”

Where’s the adherence to the conservative principle of not expanding government in relation to it’s negative effects on competiton in the free-market?

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Democratic lawmakers said they want the Medicaid expansion issue tackled during the 2019 legislative session. Politicians in both parties have publicly announced their views on Medicaid expansion ahead of the elections this fall.


Gov. Phil Bryant, term-limited Republican

For it? Publicly, no.

Mississippi Today reported that the outgoing Republican governor had been in talks with people in the healthcare industry about potentially expanding Medicaid with some strings attached, similar to what then-Gov. Mike Pence did in Indiana. Bryant denied the report.

Quote: From Bryant’s spokesman Knox Graham: “Gov. Bryant doesn’t have Medicaid expansion on his legislative agenda, and he doesn’t foresee that occurring this year.”


Attorney General Jim Hood, Democrat running for governor

For it? Yes.

Hood has been Mississippi’s attorney general since 2004. He is the lone Democratic statewide elected official. Hood has said it doesn’t make sense to not expand Medicaid coverage and bring federal money to Mississippi.

Quote: “The best-paying jobs in my communities are at the hospitals and clinics and in medical care,” Hood told the Clarion Ledger in October. “We missed a great economic development opportunity, just like we did on roads. I support us accepting federal dollars that will keep our hospitals open and help our people.”


Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Republican running for governor

For it? No.

Reeves is a two-term lieutenant governor and heir-apparent to Bryant, who is term-limited. He is firmly against Medicaid expansion, referring to it instead as “Obamacare expansion.”

Quote: “I’m opposed to Obamacare expansion in Mississippi. I’m opposed to Obamacare expansion in Mississippi. I’m opposed to Obamacare expansion in Mississippi,” Reeves said at a luncheon on Jan. 14. ” I don’t know how many ways I can explain this to y’all but I’m opposed to Obamacare expansion in Mississippi because it is not in the best interest of taxpayers.”


State Rep. Robert Foster, Republican running for governor

For it? Kind of.

Foster, a first-term lawmaker from Hernando, has described himself as a “conservative outsider.”  He said he supports a version of Medicaid expansion where participants would be required to contribute a monthly fee in order to receive coverage.

More: Republican governor candidate Robert Foster supports version of Medicaid expansion

Quote: “I do not personally support traditional expansion of Medicaid like they’ve done in some other states. But what I do support, and what we do have to take into serious consideration, is looking at waivers and an innovative way of bringing health care that is affordable to the working class Mississippians that are left out right now.”

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Republican running for lieutenant governor

For it? Possibly.

Hosemann, a Republican, has been Secretary of State since 2008. At a campaign stop in Tupelo, Hosemann was asked about his stance on Medicaid expansion by the Daily Journal. Hosemann said he could support a plan similar to what Indiana and Arkansas did. Those states put additional conditions in place as part of Medicaid expansion.

Quote: “I think we can negotiate out where we can get an affordable expansion,” Hosemann told the Daily Journal. “When you get to break even, that’s when you can afford to expand.”


State Rep. Jay Hughes, Democrat running for lieutenant governor

For it? Yes.

A first-term Democratic lawmaker, Hughes has been actively campaigning for lieutenant governor since May 2018.

Quote: “Because our rural hospitals are closing and healthcare is suffering, I support expanding Medicaid in whatever manner increases healthy outcomes and the thousands of medical jobs we left on the table.”