Editor’s note: This list will be updated throughout the legislative session. It was last updated in February. 9.
Somewhere around 3,000 bills are expected to be filed for the 2024 session of the Mississippi Legislature. Only a third or so is likely to become law. The deadline for submitting general draft laws and constitutional amendments is February 19. The tax and spending bills face later deadlines, with the hearing scheduled to end on May 5.
Mississippi’s health care — including the intertwined crises of hundreds of thousands of uninsured people and hospitals facing financial disaster — is front and center with lawmakers this year.
Here are some bills introduced to date to address health care issues.
Field of practice, facilities
Senate Bill 2064, authored by Sen. Angela Burks Hill, R-Picayune, would repeal the state’s certificate of need law. CON laws require health care providers to obtain permission from the state before adding or expanding certain health care facilities or services. Proponents, including many hospital executives, say they help control costs, ensure quality of care and the availability of services such as emergency rooms. Opponents, including Gov. Tate Reeves, say they stifle free market competition.
Senate Bill 2140, authored by Sen. J. Walter Michel, R-Ridgeland, would streamline “prior authorization,” the process by which insurance companies decide which drugs and procedures are covered for consumers. It already passed unanimously in the Senate and with some revisions, also passed unanimously in the House. It will now return to the Senate for approval of the revisions. But a similar prior authorization bill passed the Legislature last year, only to be vetoed by Governor Reeves.
Senate Bill 2080, authored by Sen. Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, seeks to introduce the state’s first licensed midwifery program. As it stands now, anyone can practice midwifery in Mississippi, but those who want certification must go out of state — meaning Mississippi, a state filled with health care deserts and the highest infant and maternal mortality rates, loses out. in the care of the provider.
Senate Bill 2079, authored by Sen. Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, would repeal nurse practitioner cooperative agreements. These agreements are financial contracts under which NPs who want to practice in Mississippi must pay a physician with whom they are “affiliated.” These contracts can be expensive and sometimes have distance restrictions, meaning rural areas lose out on care because NPs aren’t allowed to practice too far from their associate physicians—who are mostly located in urban areas.
House Bill 976 by Rep. Rep. Manly Barton, R-Moss Point, would expand podiatrists’ scope of practice to allow them to perform ankle surgery, bringing Mississippi’s law in line with 48 other states.
House Bill 539, authorized by Rep. Missy McGee, R-Hattiesburg, introduces presumptive eligibility for pregnant women. It passed the full House 117-5 last week and now moves to the Senate. If passed, it would allow low-income pregnant women to receive timely prenatal care while they wait for their Medicaid application to be officially approved — which can sometimes take months. Senate Medicaid Chairman Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, has voiced his support for the policy, calling it a “serious issue for many of us on this side.”
Lawmakers are expected to address expanding Medicaid to cover the working poor, and several bills have already been filed, but the bills that will actually be used and debated are likely still to come.
Reproductive health and rights
House Bill 32, authorized by Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven, would direct the Mississippi State Department of Health to have a nurse practitioner available at each county health department at least one day a week to provide and prescribe contraception. The bill would also make contraception affordable on a sliding scale and available to minors who are parents, married, have permission from their parent or legal guardian, or are referred for service by a doctor other. nurse, clergy, family planning clinic, school or institution of higher education, or any government agency.
Senate Bill 2163, by Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, would establish legal protections and rights for parents of children born through surrogacy and in vitro fertilization.
House Bill 336, by Rep. Rep. Kevin Felsher, R-Biloxi, would require counties to pay for psychiatric treatment for an indigent resident who is ordered by a judge to receive treatment through the civil commitment process if there is no publicly funded bed. It would cap the cost to the county at no more than the Medicaid reimbursement rate and prevent counties from jailing someone by going through the commitment process just because they lack a paying source.
House Bill 415, by Rep. Rep. Kevin Felsher, R-Biloxi, would bar counties from jailing someone without criminal charges while they go through the civil commitment process, unless they’re awaiting transport to a medical facility and he’s needed for protective custody. Any such detention in prison would be limited to 72 hours.
Read today’s Mississippi coverage of jail detentions during the civil commitment process here.
House Bill 990, by Rep. Sam Creekmore, R-New Albany, would create a tax on vape products and use the proceeds to increase patient housing at community mental health centers and create a Department of Mental Health 988 crisis response fund . The system.
House Bill 1044, by Rep. Sam Creekmore, R-New Albany, would provide for the creation and licensing of long-term supportive residential facilities for adults for people with mental illness and direct Medicaid to cover services in such facilities.