A day after Mississippi's party primary run-off elections, the Democratic candidate for governor is on the offensive, talking about expanding Medicaid. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
"Here we take all comers Medicare, Medicaid,"
Dr. Lynda Jackson-Assad is giving Mississippi's Democratic candidate for governor, a tour of the Jackson Medical Mall. Assad who is with Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, tells Attorney General Jim Hood the number of uninsured people is rising.
"We've increased from about 35 percent in 2016, to about 38, 39 percent of uninsured individuals in 2018. And sadly that number it seems is going to be increasing for 2019," said Jackson-Assad.
Hood says he's here to draw attention to the need to expand Medicaid.
"We've got 31 hospitals in jeopardy. We've had five closed. We've had five in bankruptcy. You know one of them is up where I'm from, up near Amory," said Hood.
Hood recounts the death of a woman in his hometown of Houston, who had an asthma attack, in March. She was taken to a hospital that was open. But the emergency room had been closed.
"They race back up to the fire department. She dies on the street in Houston. I mean that's third world country stuff," said Hood.
Hood says expanding the health insurance program would bring one billion dollars to Mississippi, creating 10,000 jobs and it wouldn't cost taxpayers any money. In a Republican primary run-off debate for governor, Hood's opponent Lt. Governor Tate Reeves said expanding Medicaid is bad public policy. He says it could lead to people leaving private insurers to join the federal program.
"I do not believe that putting 300,000 more Mississippians on government healthcare is a good solution," said Reeves.
Estimates put the number of working uninsured Mississippians at more than 300,000.