An analysis done by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation lists Mississippi among the 11 states who are the most likely to have trouble adapting to the changes in Medicaid funding proposed in the American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition to repealing parts of Obamacare, the bill proposes changing the way Medicaid is funded, shifting to block grants or a per capita cap. The Congressional Budget Office estimated it would reduce federal Medicaid spending by $834 billion through 2026.
The U.S. Senate is still drafting its version of the legislation and it’s not clear how it will approach changes to Medicaid funding. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, has said previously he feels federal Medicaid spending is unsustainable.
READ THE REPORT: Factors Affecting States’ Ability to Respond to Federal Medicaid Cuts and Caps: Which States Are Most At Risk?
“States are going to end up making hard choices,” if Medicaid spending is capped, said Robin Rudowitz, associate director for the foundation’s program on Medicaid and the uninsured and co-author of the analysis.
It’s not just that Mississippi has one of the most generous federal matches for Medicaid; the state receives nearly 75 cents in federal funds for every dollar spent in the program to take care of poor children, their caregivers, pregnant women, the disabled and elderly. The Kaiser analysis also looked at 30 factors that affect Medicaid spending and state’s abilities to respond to the proposed caps. It found that Mississippi, along with Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia, had five or more risk factors.
Therese Hanna, executive director of the non-partisan Center for Mississippi Health Care Policy, said the Kaiser findings are similar to those of other organizations. Based on a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid report, health care spending makes up 21 percent of the Mississippi economy, and Medicaid is 20 percent of that.