Medicaid Expansion Creates Jobs, Good for Mississippi

December 12th, 2012

On Monday, I had the privilege of being invited to testify before the Senate Public Health and Insurance Committees on the topic of Medicaid Expansion.  The slides from the testimony can be found by clicking Here.  In the presentation, there were three main points shared on why Medicaid Expansion is such an important opportunity for the state of Mississippi and should be implemented in Mississippi.

♦ Medicaid Expansion Creates Jobs
According to a recent study by the Institutions for Higher Learning, Medicaid Expansion will create approximately 9,000 jobs.  The jobs could not come at a better time – Mississippi has the same number of jobs today as in 1996.  Given the job creation potential of expansion, policymakers should adopt the same posture on Medicaid Expansion as any other important economic development project and make it a priority.

♦ Failing to Expand Medicaid makes Mississippi Less Competitive
Arkansas has expressed that it will expand Medicaid and Tennessee is considering.  If AR and TN expand Medicaid, Mississippi will be at a competitive disadvantage when trying to attract industry because the health and productivity outlook for the workforce in these neighboring states will be greater than in Mississippi if it does not expand.

♦ Failing to Expand Medicaid will lead to Layoffs and Service Reductions at Local Hospitals
Currently, some hospitals receive payments to cover the costs of caring for the uninsured.  To pay for the Affordable Care Act, these payments will be reduced over the next several years – regardless of whether or not the state chooses to expand Medicaid.  In the absence of expansion, the effects of the reductions will be particularly steep in rural communities where the hospital is typically one of the largest employers.  As layoffs and service reductions occur at local hospitals to manage the cuts, local businesses will also feel the effects from the loss of income that would have been spent in the community.

At the end of the day, simply walking away from Medicaid Expansion does not preserve the status quo in Mississippi.  In the absence of expansion, the state will find itself in a situation where it will need to find the money to simply keep health care providers at the current level of services or endure damaging cuts to its health care providers and jobs.  On the flip side, the state can prioritize the funding of Medicaid Expansion, create 9,000 jobs, connect 310,000 people to health insurance and bring in $1 billion a year in new money to the state. 

Author: Ed Sivak, MEPC Director

Medicaid Expansion and Health Coverage

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