TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- The Mississipppi House of Representatives voted Friday not to revive a Medicaid bill that was killed in January.
This comes as Republican leaders say the state simply can't afford to add more residents to Medicaid.
A Tupelo-based organization, Catch Kids, hosted a community forum Friday morning to discuss what those changes could mean.
The expansion is part of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly called Obamacare.
It is designed to fill gaps in health coverage by creating minimum Medicaid eligibility requrirements.
There has been much said and written about the pros and cons of Obamacare, but ogranizers say it was a non-political event.
"We just wanted to dissiminate the information so that the public is aware of what is being done and the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed expansion," said Valerie Long, executive director of Catch Kids.
Medicaid expansion is one part of the Affordable Care Act, however; its implementation has many sides.
"Currently, if you have a certain financial situation where you are under 138 percent of poverty - you aren't eligible for the Medicaid program automatically. You have to be pregnant, elderly, disabled, or the parent of a minor child. What the expansion does is it gets rid of all these categories and it just has financial eligibility," said Signe Shackelford of the Center for Mississippi Health Policy.
So, what would a sudden increase in the medicaid roles mean to health care professionals?
"I think it's just a good time to really bring that more to the forefront of the discussions. If we are increasing the number of patients with the medical coverage, we certainly need them to have a place to go to a doctor to call their own and be able to access the health care system," said guest speaker Dr. Jim Rish of Tupelo.
"As we're moving forward, I am very doubtful that expansion will occur in the state of Mississippi this year. Hopefully, as we move forward and explore the benefits and costs of this program, hopefully in the very near future we'll be able to evaluate that," said Timothy Moore, the vice-president of North Mississippi Health Services.
Over 300,000 uninsured and underinsured working Mississippians would have access to health insurance with the expansion of Medicaid, according to the Mississippi Health Advocacy Group.