Mississippi Medicaid expansion at crossroads over work requirement

Mississippi is closer than ever to expanding Medicaid, but experts say adding a work requirement for recipients could limit enrollment.

In Mississippi, the poorest state in the nation, Republican lawmakers have loosened their decadelong resistance to expanding Medicaid and making health insurance available to roughly 200,000 of the state’s low-income residents. 

But some Republican leaders have said they will not approve a bill without a work requirement, a provision critics say could still leave the most vulnerable Mississippians behind.

Medicaid expansion would bring coverage to state residents with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level — $20,783 for an individual, or $35,632 for a family of three. Currently, families of three with earnings up to 28% of the poverty level or $7,230 are eligible.

But many health policy experts, advocates and politicians say the work requirement would limit the bill’s reach. In a largely rural state, residents who lack employment, child care and transportation options could face insurmountable hurdles in meeting the work requirement and gaining access to Medicaid.

“There’s always this Gordian knot that poor people have to untie just to even get to the services they deserve,” said Leroy Johnson, a supervisor in Holmes County, where more than a third of residents live in poverty. 

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mississippi-medicaid-expansion-work-requirement-rcna142819


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Updated: 3 months ago
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