Written Testimony of Ed Sivak: “Medicaid Expansion Hearing”

March 11th, 2013

Written Testimony of Ed Sivak Hope Enterprise Corporation and Mississippi Economic Policy Center Before the Mississippi House of Representatives Medicaid Committee “Medicaid Expansion Hearing”

Over the summer, the Supreme Court affirmed nearly all aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the federal health care reform legislation. One exception was a provision that required states to expand eligibility for a state’s Medicaid program or face significant penalties. Under the Supreme Court ruling, states will not face penalties for not participating in Medicaid expansion and must choose whether or not to participate in the program which would be heavily financed by the federal government.

With that background in mind, Medicaid expansion is a critical public health and economic opportunity for the state of Mississippi. Over 300,000 uninsured non-elderly adults – the majority of whom are working – are eligible for coverage through expansion. Additionally, Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning estimate that employment gains of 9,000 jobs will occur as a result of the significant influx of federal dollars to finance expansion. Finally, failure to expand Medicaid has significant costs in the short term and in the long term – there is simply no way to walk away from Medicaid expansion and to preserve the status quo.

The following testimony is broken down into three sections. Section One outlines the economic case for expansion. Section Two examines the fiscal implications of expansion. Finally, Section Three concludes the testimony with summaries of research that establish the link between reduced mortality and increased use of primary care for Medicaid recipients when compared to the uninsured.

To view a copy of MEPC’s written testimony click here.