Possible debate later on Mississippi Medicaid expansion

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Democrats in the Mississippi Legislature say they’re trying to keep options for a later debate about Medicaid expansion, even though Republican Gov. Phil Bryant opposes it.

The state House voted Thursday to kill a bill that would keep the existing Medicaid program in business beyond July 1. But, the vote doesn’t have lasting consequences.

Lawmakers say there are other bills to keep the program alive.

House Bill 560 needed 68 votes to pass. There were 61 for and 52 against.

The House Democratic leader, Rep. Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto, urged his party members to vote against the bill because it could not be changed to add Medicaid expansion. He says a Senate bill could be amended later.

Under the federal health overhaul, states have the option to expand Medicaid.