Fact check: Gov. Phil Bryant’s Neshoba County Fair speech

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Gov. Phil Bryant’s Neshoba County Fair speech Thursday was chock full of facts and figures designed to illustrate prosperity under Republican leadership.
Mississippi Today reporters, as they have done in the past, researched and provided context for several of the governor’s statements about health care, social services, jobs and the economy.
Health Care
Referencing a speech from Attorney General Jim Hood on Wednesday, Bryant: “Democrats are saying health care in Mississippi is so terrible, why it’s as bad as it was in 1940. Now he’s not going to be called out for that. Nobody’s gonna fact check that.”
Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi TodayMississippi Attorney General Jim Hood speaks to media during the Neshoba County Fair Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
Fact check: Bryant mischaracterized Hood’s comments, which were specifically about emergency departments in rural areas. In his speech Wednesday, Hood criticized Republican leadership for not expanding Medicaid, to which he attributes the closing of emergency rooms across the state, including one in his hometown of Houston.
“We could have expanded (Medicaid) and kept emergency rooms open, like the one in my town Houston, they’ve closed,” Hood said on Wednesday. “We shut down our emergency room. Put that in our perspective. We had better emergency health care in rural Mississippi in 1940 than we do now.”
The veracity of Hood’s comments are more difficult to assess. The Department of Health only began tracking hospital data in the 1980s so there is no reliable way to determine the measure of quality in the 1940s.
(Editor’s note: We fact checked the speeches delivered by Hood and several other officials and candidates that we will publish later in the day).
Jobs and the economy
Bryant: “I’ve cut taxes over 50 times since I’ve been governor, and I’m darn proud of it. I’m leading the SEC in tax cuts. I think I still am.”
R.L. Nave, Mississippi TodayThe Mississippi Capitol
Fact check: Republican