JACKSON -- With the legislative session quickly coming to an end (scheduled to conclude April 7) the question is what will become of Medicaid.
I am not talking about the proposal to expand Medicaid. I am simply referring to the current Medicaid program that provides health care for poor children, poor pregnant women the disabled and for some services for the elderly, such as keeping granny in the nursing home.
The legislation that would re-authroize Medicaid was killed in a fight over whether to expand the program as part of federal law.
At this point, the leadership could attempt to garner a two-thirds majority in both chambers to revive legislation to expand the program. But that seems difficult since Republicans and Democrats are still fighting over whether to expand the program.
Gov. Phil Bryant could call a special session -- either within the current session or after the regular session ends. Medicaid's current authorization runs through June so there is a little time, though, there is no guarantee an agreement could be reached in special session.
The final option would be for the governor to run the program through some type of executive order/court conservatorship garnered by Attorney General Jim Hood. Hood got such as court order early in former Gov. Haley Barbour's tenure for the governor to run the Department of Human Services for a brief time. There is a possibility any action to run the program without legislation could be challenged in court.
There are many possible solutions to the pending Medicaid crisis but all could face roadblocks.