Local Doctors Push Medicaid Expansion

May 28th, 2013

whlt22 medicaid expansion
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - As fiscal year 2014 approaches, those in the medical field are nervous about how the Affordable Care Act will impact Pine Belt Jobs. (read more)

Members of the Mississippi Health Care Access Coalition held a press conference Thursday at Forrest General Hospital about their concerns. They said Medicaid expansion is good for business here in the Pine Belt.

“There will be cuts in how we operate,” said Forrest General CEO, Evan Dillard. 

He said because Medicaid expansion looks unlikely in Mississippi, they will have to scale back in size to stay within budget.

“We have to maintain the financial viability of the hospital so we will have to react accordingly,” he said.

Dillard said it’s still to early to go into specifics about what will be cut,  but changes will be seen within the next five months.

“We’ve got cuts facing us Oct. 1,” said Dillard.

According to the Coalition,  the hospital is the second leading job provider in the area behind Camp Shelby. Dillard said if they make cuts the local economy will suffer.

“Every job you have or don’t have adds or detracts from the economy,” he said.

Sara Miller advocates for Medicaid expansion for the Senior Policy Analyst Mississippi Economic Policy Center. She said the expansion would benefit some small businesses because they would be able to afford health care for their employees.

“A lot of small business employees would be covered like cashiers and cooks and people like that,” she said.

However, it’s no secret that Gov. Phil Bryant is against the expansion. He said the state cannot afford it, but Miller disagrees.

“It’s vital for our state, its a huge opportunity that would require a small investment from the state that would bring billions of federal dollars into the state,” said Miller. 

“What we are trying to do is find a solution that will work for the legislation branch, the governor’s office, the governor’s office, the administrative branch, and all the hospitals and physician providers,” said Dillard.

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