Maybe health policy isn’t Governor Tate Reeves’ thing

With fellow Republican leaders against him and pushing Medicaid expansion through the Legislature, Gov. Tate Reeves had a statewide platform last week with his State of the State address to warn citizens of Mississippi of the dangers of this policy.

But he didn’t say anything. Zilch.

He didn’t even mention the state’s serious long-term health problems that rival third-world areas.

Instead, he tweeted about it.

In fact, he mostly just retweeted Donald Trump’s erudite and well-thought-out argument against Medicaid expansion: “Obamacare Sucks!!!”

But last week, as the GOP-led expansion legislation continued to move through the Legislature, Reeves laid out his well-reasoned and detailed argument against the policy:

Count me among the extreme MAGA Republicans who think the government shouldn’t be running health care, Reeves tweeted.

So for the one issue before Reeves that is literally life or death for many of his fellow Mississippians, he offers no policy. Only politics. Obamacare is bullshit.

Reeves, in his eight years as lieutenant governor and nearly a full first term as governor, never had a health initiative like Trump did when he was president. It just wasn’t on their radar, even as Mississippians and hospitals struggled.

Reeves has never been big on proposing any major policy by just killing other people’s proposals or looking at them if they look like a politically winning ticket. By his own admission, he is never quick to say, “No.”

Reeves has made it clear that he thinks taking more federal tax dollars from Medicaid to provide health care to Mississippi’s working poor is bullshit. This is dirty, corrosive “welfare” money that Mississippi simply does not need. Mississippians, he opined, just need to get better jobs where they have insurance. Stop being poor. Stop being sick.

But when his re-election campaign last year took a nosedive over his lack of a plan to address the health crisis that threatened to close many hospitals, Reeves came up with one: Expanding Medicaid payments to hospitals .

That’s right, he chose to take more of that dirty federal “welfare” tax money from Medicaid as a stopgap in his only major health care policy to date.

Not only that, the avowedly anti-tax Reeves levied a tax on hospitals to cover the state’s share of welfare or Medicaid money.

If you’re playing at home, it’s hard to scan, but this seems to be their overall strategy: federal dollars are bad, if they’re going to help the poor and struggling Mississippians (of which there are many, and, just doing a napkin). math, many vote Republican). But federal dollars are good if they go to businesses or institutions or, really, anything other than poor people.

READ MORE: Moral imperative: House overwhelmingly passes Mississippi Medicaid expansion

Reeves recently bragged at a state news conference that received more than $1 billion in federal money to expand Internet service that he wanted Mississippi to receive not only its fair share of federal largesse, but “more than our fair share.”

But Mississippi perennially tops the list of states most dependent on the federal government that accept federal money to deal with the highest rates of infant mortality, maternal mortality, overall early mortality, diabetes amputations, physician shortages. ., that’s wrong.

Republican House Speaker Jason White and Medicaid Chair Missy McGee last week, after passing an expansion bill in the House, struck a chord.

“‘No’ is not a policy that has helped or will help low-income Mississippi workers,” McGee said.

White noted last week that Medicaid expansion is not a perfect solution, but it is the only realistic one currently available to address the state’s health care crisis.

“It’s like when mom only took out turnips and cornbread for dinner,” White said. “That was all. Nothing else came out. You can eat it or not.

“It’s what’s for dinner.”

If you’re the governor of a state and your state has the highest death rates, lowest life expectancy again, third world health statistics, it’s probably time to start engaging with your fellow state leaders about solutions, start talking to the public about it.

It’s probably time to come up with some policies, especially if you don’t like the ones they’re proposing.

“Obamacare sucks!!!” it is not a real policy.

“No” is not a real policy.

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