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“Obamacare Sucks”: Governor...

“Obamacare Sucks”: Governor Reeves shares Trump message, comes out swinging against Medicaid expansion

By: Frank Corder - February 20, 2024

President Donald Trump welcomes Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, left, to the stage at a rally at BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss., Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

  • Responding to calls for Medicaid expansion in the Legislature, the Mississippi Governor reiterated his opposition on Tuesday.

News broke last week that Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann backed legislation to fully expand Medicaid up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The announcement sparked question of how Governor Tate Reeves, who has opposed Medicaid expansion, would respond.

On Tuesday, the public received its answer.

Governor Reeves reminded Mississippians his position has not changed. In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Reeves noted that Democrats, and some Republicans, “want Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion.”

For those wondering how I feel, I offer you the words of President Trump: “I don’t want to terminate Obamacare, I want to REPLACE IT with MUCH BETTER HEALTHCARE. Obamacare Sucks!!!”

The framing of Reeves’ message is clear – Republican elected officials can stand with him and former President Donald Trump, or they can stand with former President Barack Obama and Democrats on the issue.

Governor Reeves withstood an onslaught of attack ads and media critiques during the 2023 campaign for his opposition to Medicaid expansion. It was for naught. When the dust settled, Reeves emerged the winner.

Experts have estimated that expansion could add between 200,000 and 400,000 Mississippians to the Medicaid rolls, while increasing the state’s portion of the cost to over $1.7 billion annually.

Since passage in 2010, Republican leadership has resisted calls to embrace Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. The word from Hosemann could mark a major shift for a supermajority Republican Legislature that has been reluctant to add able-bodied adults to the welfare program.

Governor Reeves, the state’s top Republican, defeated Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brandon Presley last year to win re-election. Presley, in defeat, pushed Medicaid expansion as his number one issue.

The dispute between Reeves and Hosemann over whether to expand Medicaid could derail other legislative priorities. It also leaves new Speaker Jason White in an interesting position, having expressed some willingness to at least entertain Medicaid expansion in one form or another. Members of the Legislature, watching a burgeoning intraparty feud, could be left in a no-win situation with Republican voters.

The parameters of the proposal to expand the welfare program in the Mississippi Legislature have not been released as of publication. Should the expansion gain approval in the state House and Senate, it would likely need to pass by a veto-proof margin, as Governor Reeves appears willing to hold the line and veto the effort.

Magnolia Tribune will continue to follow this story as it develops during the 2024 legislative session.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: