BY: Rep. Greg Snowden
The truth is that even without expansion, mandatory Obamacare regulations will cost Mississippi as much as $436 million more before 2020, and a full expansion likely would cost over $1 billion. Slick, left-leaning advocacy groups tout extravagant claims that Medicaid expansion would create thousands of new jobs and bring prosperity to Mississippi. The reality is, as our senior state economist says, “the state will not see a positive return on its investment with Medicaid expansion. It should not be considered economic development.”
Many of our state’s doctors are skeptical about Medicaid expansion. Recently, the president of the State Medical Association said “physicians fear that an expansion of Medicaid may not be financially sustainable and will impose on the state unintended consequences that will weaken provider capacity, which is inadequate now.”
Doctors understand the goal should be to make citizens healthier. Yet a recent study from Oregon reveals no evidence that Medicaid coverage actually improves the physical health of the very population targeted for expansion (low-income adults aged 19-64). Statistically, the generally “working poor” are no healthier with Medicaid coverage than they were when uninsured! Given this looming specter of lackluster performance, why would any state rush to expand?
Indeed, less than half the 50 states will expand Medicaid in 2014, and some others are pursuing alternative expansion-based models. Nineteen states have rejected expansion outright, and another seven are leaning against it.