Well being care, utilities amongst subjects mentioned at Meet the Candidates Discussion board – The Vicksburg Submit

Well being care, utilities amongst subjects mentioned at Meet the Candidates Discussion board – The Vicksburg Submit

Well being care, utilities amongst subjects mentioned at Meet the Candidates Discussion board

Revealed 3:23 pm Friday, June 30, 2023

Well being care, Medicaid growth and utility service have been among the many major subjects as candidates for state workplace met Warren County residents at a discussion board on Thursday on the Warren County Courthouse.

An estimated 50 folks attended this system sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the First Mississippi Chapter of Blacks in Authorities, the Vicksburg Chapter of the NAACP and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

The dialogue of well being care and Medicaid growth started with a query from the viewers to candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and Home Districts 55 and 85 regarding the lack of rural hospitals. At one level, all of the candidates indicated they supported Medicare growth.

District 85 Rep. Jeffery Harness mentioned the rationale hospitals have been closing is the dearth of medical health insurance.

“We will handle these points if we might simply merely go Medicaid growth,” Harness mentioned.

Medicaid growth, he mentioned, “Would put one million {dollars} in our pocket and add numerous numbers of jobs.

“We may additionally enhance our hospitals by recruiting extra docs and extra nurses which are leaving our state. So our care, our high quality care, shouldn’t be what must be,” he mentioned. “The Band-Assist we placed on our drawback shouldn’t be adequate sufficient to heal our drawback.”

Had Gov. Tate Reeves signed off on it, “We might have Medicaid growth proper now,” District 55 Rep. Oscar Denton mentioned.

“We’re shedding billions of {dollars} from the primary three years,” Denton mentioned. “If we had accepted that cash, it will’ve value us zero. However we’ve got some leaders that refuse to deal with the folks. It’s not myself and Jeff (Harness). We tried to provide the hospitals $150 million this yr. They solely mentioned $103 (million).”

District 55 candidate Kimberly Stevens mentioned the state wants to have the ability to get funding from different sources to ensure small hospitals can stay open.

“And by doing that, we are able to pull funding from sure grants,” Stevens mentioned, including she additionally believes Medicaid Growth is necessary.

“I imagine the rationale why we’ve got the closings is as a result of we don’t have funding within the state,” gubernatorial candidate Gwendolyn Grey mentioned. “We’ve got lots of remoted small cities and typically they get neglected. We allocate funds from funding that we’ve got that’s accessible, however we’re not spending it.”

Tiffany Longino, a candidate for lieutenant governor, mentioned Medicaid must be expanded, including, “We’ve got people who find themselves sick right here within the state of Mississippi who want well being care and well being care could be accessible if our elected officers put the funds the place they belong and settle for these funds that we’d like, that’s coming in from the federal authorities.

“We may get one thing like $1 billion for the state of Mississippi for those who want well being care and don’t have it,” Longino mentioned.

Viewers questions on utilities centered on bettering service and higher communication between utilities and the general public and native officers. The questions come within the wake of a interval of extreme storms that knocked out energy to hundreds of residents. Entergy has been criticized by officers and clients for failing to reply to the outages faster and supply well timed updates on the restoration.

DeKeither Stamps, a candidate for Central District Public Service Commissioner, mentioned a technique to enhance utility service is to write down insurance policies “that make our utilities resilient, inexpensive, dependable, not duplicate their failed insurance policies or the insurance policies of different states. We should do the issues which are mandatory to ensure all of those determination has a dependable end result.”

He mentioned Entergy shouldn’t be responding to the general public, “and any individual wants to write down coverage or any individual must rewrite coverage to make it higher. And that’s how coverage strikes our neighborhood ahead.”

Central Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey mentioned after the ice storm of 2021, the PSC carried out a full assessment of the state’s utility infrastructure.

And whereas the commissioners have taken steps to enhance utility transmission within the state, “We want to check out the distribution system,” Bailey mentioned. “However extra importantly, we’ve got to speak, we’ve got to have efficient communications between our utilities and their clients as a result of you’ve one alternative, one supplier till issues change. You’ve gotten one entity to lean on offering that vital important life-saving useful resource.”

Responding to a later query, Bailey mentioned communication between Entergy and its clients failed.

“That’s one thing we’ve all the time had points with,” he mentioned. “Not simply communication but in addition service, too many occasions.”

Bailey mentioned Entergy has employed too many out-of-state contractors who have no idea the world or the purchasers. He mentioned Entergy wants to rent extra in-state employees and produce jobs again to the state.

Stamps mentioned the PSC can do higher, saying the folks within the state deserve higher from their officers.

“What has occurred is unacceptable; it’s unacceptable for senior residents to be with out energy for his or her dwelling,” Stamps mentioned. “If you happen to don’t have energy, it means you don’t have air.”

He mentioned the commissioners must be extra aggressive in holding utilities accountable for poor service.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State College with a level generally research. He has labored as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Submit employees since 2011 and covers metropolis authorities. He and his spouse attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he’s a member of the Port Metropolis Kiwanis Membership.

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