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Video: Special Session Still In Limbo As Lawmakers Discuss Medicaid

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NORTHEAST Miss. (WCBI)- Governor Phil Bryant has yet to set a date for a special session. The Governor tells us he’s waiting on Democrats to get their act together.

“I hope at some point those Democrats that voted to kill medicaid will think, ‘What on earth have we done??’ Now they say, ‘Oh, we’re for it!?’ Well if you’re for something, when I was in the legislature you voted for it. If you’re against it, you vote against it. So there’s this great confusion of politics that’s going on,” said Governor Bryant.

During the regular session, Democrats blocked medicaid legislation in order to offer an amendment to expand the program to cover more people near the poverty level.

“They can make excuses any way they want to but to our great surprise, they voted on four different occasions to say we will not vote for the current medicaid system. I will not throw people out of nursing homes to prove a political point and that’s where I think we’re at right now. The Democrats are using 700,000 medicaid recipients in this political game and it should not be happening,” said Governor Bryant.

Democratic State Representative Tyrone Ellis vehemently disagrees with the governor. He says throwing people out of nursing homes is the last thing Democrats want to do.

“No Democrat that I know of would just knowingly in their right mind vote to put Aunt Suzie or Granny out of the nursing home. It just wouldn’t happen. Democrats are the ones who brought this to the State, quite frankly. So why would we turn our backs on our people like that? We wouldn’t do that. If we were going to debate the expansion of it and then that was voted down, obviously we would have voted for the re-authorization. So I don’t want the Republicans or the Governor or any of the citizens to get it twisted, thinking that we voted just purely to kill medicaid. That’s not the democratic way,” said Representative Ellis.

Governor Bryant believes medicaid expansion is costly and thinks having federally qualified healthcare centers across the State is a better solution.

“Republican Governors have been saying, give us a block grant within our State and we will provide healthcare.  Don’t make us commit the State of Mississippi to something that we cannot afford, that’s our answer,” said Governor Bryant.

“Tell me Governor and Republican Party, why is it you wish to not have these people on the roll for the Affordable Care Act? I’ll tell you why. The reason why is because they’ve labeled this the “Obamacare Act.” It is not! It’s the Affordable Healthcare Act and if you stop thinking Obamacare and start thinking Affordable Health Care then we can get this done without all these labels and personality conflicts. It was something developed during the Obama Administration and they have a problem with that,” said Representative Ellis.

Bryant says a special session will cost taxpayers between $35,000-$40,000. If democrats and republicans can’t come to a solution about medicaid expansion, Bryant says he will run it by executive order.