Hood: Gov can't run Medicaid by executive order

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi’s attorney general says the governor does not have legal authority to operate the Division of Medicaid by executive order.

Attorney General Jim Hood’s nonbinding opinion, issued Wednesday, contradicts claims by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and could increase pressure on Bryant to call the Legislature into special session to reauthorize the state Medicaid program.

Unless something changes, the program is on track to end after June 30, putting health care at risk for 644,000 Mississippians.

Hood, a Democrat, issued his opinion in response to questions from Democratic lawmakers. His opinions are nonbinding but provide guidance for state leaders.

During the legislative session that ended in April, lawmakers locked up in a partisan dispute over whether to expand Medicaid. They did not reauthorize the program or set its budget.

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