During the pandemic, Mississippi has had the highest COVID-19 death rate of any state outside the Northeast. On Friday, the state’s Republican governor, Tate Reeves, said he remained committed to denying access to Medicaid for constituents near the poverty line, even though expanding eligibility would make money for Mississippi as a result of the new stimulus bill.
“My position has not changed. I am opposed to expanding Medicaid in Mississippi,” Gov. Reeves said during a press conference covered by the Mississippi Free Press. When asked by Vox if the prospect of additional funding might make him reconsider his opposition to Medicaid expansion, Reeves said, “No, sir, it will not,”
As part of Obamacare, the federal government covers 90 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid to people who make up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $30,000 for a family of four. Twelve Republican-led states have refused that offer, leaving about 2.2 million of their constituents without health insurance.
On top of the 90 percent match, the stimulus bill President Joe Biden signed Thursday would give Mississippi, the poorest state in the country, an estimated $600 million over two years to expand Medicaid to the roughly 200,000 to 300,000 people in the state who would be eligible. Nearly 60 percent of people who’d gain health insurance as a result of Medicaid expansion in Mississippi would be people of color. The vast majority of those people are Black.