Arkansas plan of insurance for poor more agreeable than Medicaid expansion for key lawmaker

State Senate Medicaid Committee Chair Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, is not the first politician to look to Arkansas as an example of how to provide health care coverage to more Mississippians. “No, I don’t believe in it,” Blackwell said of Medicaid expansion after a recent legislative hearing on the financial crisis facing Mississippi hospitals and their possible closure. Blackwell was echoing the positions of many Republican politicians in Mississippi who say they oppose Medicaid expansion that would provide health care coverage for primarily the working poor. But then Blackwell went on to say that “there might be some alternative to Medicaid expansion for the state to consider.”

Mississippi legislators could debate tax cuts again in 2023

Mississippi legislators return to the Capitol on Tuesday, and their three-month session could be dominated by debates over taxes. This is the final year of a four-year term. Most members of the Republican-controlled House and Senate are expected to seek reelection, but the Republican speaker of the House, Philip Gunn, announced months ago that this will be his final year in office. During the 2022 session, legislators passed and Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed a plan to reduce the state income tax over four years — the state’s largest tax cut ever. That reduction starts this year. Gunn says he wants legislators this year to finish the job of eliminating the income tax. He points to a budget estimate that shows Mississippi with a surplus of about $1 million.

As health infrastructure shrinks, a daughter of the Delta cares for her community

To reach Gunnison, Mississippi, from Cleveland, the quickest path – though not the route with the best-paved streets – takes you off Highway 8, down miles of narrow roads slicing through some of the most fertile land on earth. In early December, the fields are still but not empty. Silvery water pools in gashes in the dirt, and cardinals settle on shoots of electric green gleaming in the gray light of winter. When you reach Highway 1, you’ve arrived in Gunnison, with a population of 425 and only two businesses: a gas station and Healthy Living Family Medical Clinic, opened by Gunnison native Wyconda Thomas in 2019. The squat brick building is decorated for the season, with a wreath on the door and letters out front spelling “Merry Christmas.” When Thomas decided to open her own practice, she chose the place where she saw the greatest need, which also happened to be the community that raised her.

Healthcare, infrastructure top list of 2023 session priorities for Mississippi lieutenant governor

With the Mississippi legislature’s next regular session less than two weeks away, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann laid out a number of priorities he’d like to see pass in 2023. Atop his list were healthcare and infrastructure, with education and taxes also being mentioned during a meeting with news media Wednesday. Hosemann, who leads the state Senate, said people often have preconceptions about legislative sessions during election years. State offices, including his own, will be up for grabs in November.

Welfare recipient won’t stop fighting for ‘decency and common sense’

The state of Mississippi isn’t getting anything past Danielle Thomas. Thomas is a bright, young single mother raising her six kids in south Jackson. Because she lives in poverty, Thomas is also an expert in the convoluted policies and bureaucratic red tape surrounding one of the biggest scandals in state history: the TANF program. Despite recent attention on the graft and corruption within the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant, Mississippi is still pumping less than 5% of the money directly to mothers like Thomas. “I really think it’s still them stealing from people, to be honest,” Thomas, 34, said. “I really feel like they feel like a lot of us aren’t smart enough, or they feel like we probably don’t know the system in and out well enough.”

© 2016 Mississippi Health Advocacy Program