JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves took a sudden turn on Sunday on an issue that Democrats have criticized him so harshly in this year’s election. A year of Medicaid coverage for women after giving birth.
Reeves said on social media that if the Republican-controlled House and Senate sent him a bill allowing Medicaid coverage for the first year after giving birth, “I will sign it into law.”
Reeves hopes to do so “as part of our new pro-life agenda.”
“I think it’s great,” Reeves wrote. “I also think it’s going to put more stress on Mississippi mothers. We have to love them. We have to support them.”
Reeves, who has been governor since January 2020 and has served two previous terms as lieutenant governor, has resisted efforts to expand the reach of Medicaid and other government programs. He has not publicly changed his opposition to extending Medicaid coverage to workers with low-wage jobs that do not provide private insurance, and Mississippi approves of its widespread expansion. Not in his eleven states he is one.
28 states and the District of Columbia Extended Postpartum Medicaid Coverage All year round.
Physicians from the Mississippi Medical Association and business leaders from the Mississippi Economic Council endorsed a year of postpartum Medicaid, saying it could improve health outcomes in a state with high maternal mortality.
Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the United States, and approximately 60% of births in Mississippi are to women on Medicaid. States generally allow Medicaid coverage for the first two months after giving birth.
Since the COVID-19 public health emergency began in 2020, Mississippi has allowed one year of postpartum coverage, but many patients say the state usually has two months of coverage left. He said he didn’t know much about it.
The country’s public health emergency is set to expire in May. The deadline, combined with Mississippi’s election season, has intensified the debate over postpartum coverage.
The state’s utility regulator, Brandon Presley, who is currently running for governor as a Democrat, said on Twitter Thursday that Reeves “doesn’t have the guts to push for postpartum care for mothers.”
“I think ‘His Majesty’ will be able to convince Congress to do the right thing,” Presley wrote.
Two Democratic leaders in the Mississippi legislature — Sen. Derrick Simmons of Greenville and Rep. Robert Johnson of Natchez — criticized Reeves in a joint statement Sunday.
Simmons and Johnson said of the governor, “To say he will sign this bill is just a last-ditch effort to save face on an issue that the majority of Mississippians support. That’s not brave. It’s cowardly politics.” Theater.
of Mississippi Senate On February 7, we passed a bill that, like last year, allows one year of postnatal Medicaid coverage. House Republican Speaker Philip Gunn has not said whether the House will consider the bill. Other recent Senate bills were overturned in the House due to opposition from Gunn.
Reeves, who often calls himself a “numbers man,” expressed skepticism Sunday when he staked his new position on longer postpartum Medicaid coverage.
“The debate over the future of these benefits has been intense,” Reeves wrote. “And to be perfectly honest, I’m imperfect at best and at worst I’m often misunderstood and misunderstood by the ‘get more government benefits regardless of the cost’ crowd. We are not driven by data.”
Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter. http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.