Editorial summary: Mississippi | Durham Herald Sun

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The (McComb) Enterprise-Journal. September 28, 2021.

Editorial: Marijuana Bill is an Improvement

It’s often easy to criticize the Mississippi Legislature, which, like any elected body, is made up of people with very different personalities and agendas. Sometimes it gives the impression that their real intention is to accomplish little.

That’s not the case, however, with the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act bill, which on its face is much more comprehensive and superior to the constitutional amendment voters approved last year.

It appears that the lawmakers tasked with bringing forward the proposal have done their homework. Surely they looked at the laws of other states where medical marijuana is legal and wrote a lot more detail and detail into the 144-page bill that was missing from the constitutional amendment.

A key improvement is the taxation of the medical marijuana bill. Last year’s amendment did not require a tax, which was a huge error in judgment. If the Mississippi is going to wade through this pond, there is no reason to take it slow when it comes to the state treasury.

The bill applies both sales and excise taxes to medical marijuana, just as the state already does with other “products of sin” such as cigarettes and alcohol. .

There was a strong push to do so: Last year some 75% of voters backed the medical marijuana amendment – an approval rating that no one, not even lawmakers with radar systems. sharp policy, could not have foreseen.

Clearly, a qualified majority of voters in Mississippi saw a sick family member or friend suffer from a serious illness or medical condition. They decided that one of the many medical marijuana products could ease their pain and should be legal.

But a few months ago, the state Supreme Court rejected the results of the marijuana referendum. The mayor of Madison filed a complaint and successfully argued that a flaw in the mechanism for collecting signatures for a vote, linked to the number of congressional districts in the state, rendered the whole process invalid.

The bill addresses concerns of local authorities by allowing county supervisors and city councils to ban the cultivation, processing, sale or distribution of medical marijuana products. However, the ban also includes a citizen waiver option if enough people call for a referendum.

There are almost certainly provisions in the bill that some people will not like. It may not be perfect, but it contains a lot of good stuff that will allow the state to venture into the new and unexpected realm of the medical business.

The legislature deserves criticism for not taking action on this issue two or three years ago. Instead, lawmakers chose to do nothing, effectively betting voters would reject medical marijuana at the ballot box.

The lesson here is that lawmakers mistakenly gave up control of a hot problem. But the Supreme Court ruling gave them a second chance. They seem to have made the most of it.

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Commonwealth of Greenwood. September 24, 2021.

Editorial: Mississippi made its bed

When individuals are unlucky, those who try to help them become frustrated when the recipients of the bounty are unwilling to do any part to improve their situation.

So goes the common answer: why help them when they are unwilling to help themselves?

The same can be applied to Mississippi and its stubborn refusal to expand Medicaid, which would help the uninsured, help struggling hospitals, and help that state’s economy.

If Mississippi, under its current Republican leadership, doesn’t want to help itself, why should the federal government take over?

This is our reaction to a plan currently circulating in Congress for the federal government to effectively fund the full cost of covering the 200,000 to 300,000 Mississippians who would become eligible for the government’s health insurance program.

Washington has already made several generous offers to Mississippi, without success. During the first few years after the adoption of Obamacare, the state would have had to pay zero to cover workers who earn too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid and too little to afford private insurance. Mississippi said no.

When that incentive expired and the federal game fell to 90% still generous, Mississippi was still not interested, although a majority of states joined, including several led by Republicans. So earlier this year, as part of a coronavirus relief plan, a new carrot was added. If any of the 12 recalcitrant states signed up now, they would get a higher federal match on traditional Medicaid for the first two years. In Mississippi, that would mean an additional $ 600 million in federal spending. Again, this state was not interested.

The people who live in those 38 other states and the District of Columbia would have every good reason to tell their representatives in Congress, “You better not vote to recoup 100% of the cost. If the rulers of Mississippi and those 11 other states cannot be reasoned, let them suffer the consequences. Perhaps the voters who elected them to power will end up being wise and rejecting them. “

There are already many reasons to expand Medicaid without any additional push from Washington. The federal government is only asking Mississippi for a 10% contribution, and it will initially give the state an additional refund sufficient to cover that 10% contribution for at least three years.

If that weren’t enough, studies have shown repeatedly, including one released last week by the Mississippi government’s own economists, that the Medicaid expansion will pay for itself through increased economic activity, reducing levels of unpaid care and shifting health care costs from the current state. child care costs on the federal government.

In other words, Mississippi will earn money on the Medicaid expansion. Every claim by Governor Tate Reeves and other opponents of the expansion that the state can’t afford it is a lie.

If this state just swallows this lie, then no one in Congress should feel pressured to send another dime to Mississippi to try to change their mind. Also, as Senator Hob Bryan, a Democrat who chairs the committee on health care, joked, even a 100% federal share might not be enough to convince obstructionists.

“I imagine if there was a program like this, the governor and the attorney general would sue to try to prevent us from getting the money,” Bryan said.

Ridiculous but probably true.

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Tupelo Daily Journal. September 22, 2021.

Editorial: Obesity Destroys Mississippi’s Health

A new national obesity study has alarming news for Mississippi, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. We lead the nation in adult obesity and are second behind Kentucky in childhood obesity. And like in every other state, we’ve seen our prices increase over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has altered our diet, exercise, and daily habits.

Obesity is not that someone is fat. And that’s not just a problem for those who are obese. The apathy and the ‘they should just lose weight’ mentality that seems to welcome discussions on this issue illustrates too many ignorance of the causes of obesity and the real impact obesity has on our condition. in general.

The new report – produced by the non-partisan public health policy advocacy group Trust for America’s Health – relays the following stark statistics on Mississippi:

– 39.7% of adults are obese (highest in the country)

– 72.8% of adults are overweight or obese (highest in the country)

– 14.6% of adults have diabetes (3rd highest in the country)

– 43.6% of adults suffer from high blood pressure (2nd highest in the country)

– 22.3% of children aged 10 to 17 are obese (highest in the country)

– 23.4% of high school students are obese (highest in the country)

Study after study, obesity is linked to poorer health outcomes for individuals and shows that it is a major cause or a complicating factor of several diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. We also know that the poorer a population is, the higher the costs of health care and insurance for everyone.

As we said, obesity not only hurts the inflicted ones, it affects everyone, which is why everyone should care.

“So how do we get people to stop overeating? You might ask.

Well, the first thing you should do is realize that “eating too much” is a gross simplification of the problem and a pretty gross answer to a complicated problem.

There are several factors that lead to high obesity rates. Some are cultural, like the southern love for anything fried. Then there are the key indicators like food shortage, poverty, health insurance coverage and access to recreation areas (i.e. sidewalks, parks, etc.). These make up what the study calls the Social Determinants of Health Index. Mississippi ranks last in the overall index and at or near the bottom in each of the different sections.

TAH highlights what other health advocates have said: Tackling obesity requires a systems approach.

“A systems approach includes reducing long-standing structural and historical inequalities that have been intensified by the pandemic; target obesity prevention programs in communities with the highest needs; and scaling up and disseminating evidence-based initiatives that promote healthy behaviors and outcomes (for example, in the health, transportation and education sectors), ”the report says.

The government has a key role to play in policies aimed at addressing the underlying causes of obesity, particularly at the state and federal levels. Local governments can also have a big impact, especially school boards.

But government alone is not the answer. By realizing which issues increase the risk of obesity, nonprofit groups, social organizations, community leaders, businesses, and individuals can help tailor their altruistic efforts to these issues.

As state health worker Dr Thomas Dobbs said of the report’s findings: “Our past does not determine our future.”

TO FINISH

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