Medicaid expansion campaign halted in Mississippi
A campaign to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot in Mississippi has been suspended, according to the advocacy groups backing the effort.
The move comes after the state Supreme Court invalidated a voter-passed medicinal marijuana initiative, citing an outdated provision in the state constitution that effectively blocks voters from placing new measures on the 2022 ballot.
The court ruled Friday that the marijuana ballot measure was invalid because supporters needed to collect a portion of their signatures from all five of the state’s congressional districts. But Mississippi only has four congressional districts, after losing a seat following the 2000 census.
Leaders of the “Yes on 76” campaign said they would continue their efforts once there is “a functional ballot process” in the state.
“Our broad coalition of doctors, nurses, business and faith leaders and voters from across the political spectrum is not going away. We will keep up the fight until Mississippians receive the healthcare they need,” the group said in a statement.
Medicaid expansion would help more than 200,000 people in the state gain health coverage.
The advocacy coalition said it fully supports a special session to “restore the constitutional right of Mississippians to vote directly on issues of importance, including Medicaid expansion.”
Almost 69 percent of Mississippi voters voted to approve a medical marijuana regime in 2020, and advocates were hoping to garner similar support for Medicaid expansion.
Overall, 38 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, a decade after its passage. Among those, six states have expanded Medicaid through a ballot measure, as voters approved policies conservative legislatures refused to pass.