False Claims in Tate Reeves’ ‘Obamacare’ Mailers on Waller Plan

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Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves' campaign sent a mailer to Mississippi voters this week with the word "OBAMACARE" emblazoned across it includes false information about the health-care plan that his opponent in the Republican runoff for governor, former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., is proposing.

Waller's plan, which he calls "Medicaid reform," would accept more than $1 billion in yearly federal funding to expand the state's Medicaid program, which would bring affordable health-care options to about 300,000 Mississippians and could keep dozens of financially imperiled rural hospitals afloat.

The plan is essentially Medicaid expansion, a key component of former President Barack Obama's signature law, the Affordable Care Act. But Waller's proposal includes more conservative provisions similar to those that Republican U.S. Vice President Mike Pence enacted when he expanded Medicaid in Indiana while governor.

The Reeves mailer makes several claims that the Jackson Free Press verified are false.

False Claims on Costs, Impact in Louisiana

For one, Reeves' mailer claims Waller's plan would "cost state taxpayers over $200 million per year." The plan that Waller supports, which the Mississippi Hospital Association introduced in May, would not rely on state tax funds.

The federal government has already agreed to pay 90% of the cost of Medicaid expansion, which would leave the state to pay around $159,000 per year by 2025 under a straightforward expansion, the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning estimated four years ago. That study also estimated that expansion would create 9,000 new jobs in the state, adding an extra $96 million to coffers each year by 2025.

Under Waller's plan, though, Mississippi taxpayers would pay none of the remaining 10%. Instead, recipients of expanded Medicaid would pay limited fees, including a $20 monthly premium and $100 for nonemergency ER visits, while hospitals would cover the remaining costs.

Reeves' mailers also claims Waller's plan would

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