Alan Lange over at YallPolitics.com has an article up outlining his fantasy for how Republicans should approach the problem, and it reads like he's working out some issues related to PHDD (Post-Haley Departure Disorder). In his world, Democrats are to blame for not voting to reauthorize Medicaid and moving on. He's just ignoring basic facts.
The House Republican leadership killed the last Medicaid reauthorization bill available (which the Republican-led Senate passed) by assigning it to the Rules Committee and not letting it onto the floor. Democrats never got the chance to even debate that bill, let alone vote it down. Under Lange's proposed plan of action, the Gov. Bryant would create a very narrow call for the special session and only allow a bill that would prevent Medicaid expansion. Well, the problem with that approach is that, while the governor certainly may limit the scope of a special session, he cannot issue a "take it or leave it" piece of legislation for the Legislature to either pass as is or reject. The Legislature has the power to amend the proposed legislation, as was established in the medical liability reform special session of 2002.
Next, Lange starts to bang the keys a bit more loudly:
I would literally call a special session every two days. I’d make them come to Jackson and then go back home and then come back to Jackson. Lather, rinse and repeat. If I were feeling especially evil, I would make sure that the air conditioning at the Capitol is not working.Do you remember when Republicans used to complain about the costs associated with special sessions? I do. But I guess our economy's been booming since they took over, so we don't have to worry about stuff like that any more. Oh, wait....
There's a reason there hasn't been a vote on expanding Medicaid: House Republicans are too scared to get on the record about it. They know full well that the Tea Party folks in their districts are foaming at the mouth over anything associated with President Obama, especially "Obamacare". They also know full well that those same folks won't have a hospital to go to at all if expansion in some form isn't passed.
It's times like these when the people of Mississippi expect their governor to lead, not bloviate. Nearly every other Republican governor in the country is looking to work some sort of compromise on Medicaid expansion so that their states can receive the economic benefits of the Affordable Care Act. But not our governor, Dr. Phil! He's too busy saying that poor people are lazy and don't really need to see the doctor anyway and drawing lines in the sandbox he had installed for his enjoyment over at the Governor's Mansion. (That's a joke; he didn't really build a sandbox to play in.)
Mississippi Republicans can keep on spinning all they want, but there's no way they don't take the hit for the current Medicaid problem: they control every branch of government totally. Furthermore, reauthorizing Medicaid without expanding it doesn't solve the problem of hospitals closing. Medicaid expansion is the new way the federal government has decided to handle the problem of uncompensated care, whether anyone likes it or not. Reauthorize Medicaid without expanding it? Don't even bother. The hospitals simply aren't going to make it without DSH payments, which are going away.
The only real option left is for them to begin to work towards a compromise under which we accept the federal funds (which are going somewhere anyway, mind you). Gov. Bryant needs to begin working with legislative Democrats and the hospital community to find an agreeable solution that allows the hospitals to stay open through Medicaid expansion. He's got until July 1.