Health Care Group Claims Medicaid Cuts Could Cost JobsBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 29 Jun 2011 03:57pm |
Mississippi could lose thousands of jobs if Medicaid spending from Washington is reduced....that's the new claim of a health care reform advocacy group called Families USA. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that some claim Medicaid reductions could especially hurt Mississippi because of the state's heavy reliance on the program.
The budget passed by the US house would reduce Medicaid spending and distribute that cash to states in chunks called block grants.
Ron Pollack with Families USA says those changes would cause Mississippians to spend more on health care and less on everything else.
"Those folks would have less of an ability to purchase other consumer goods whether it is a television set, and automobile, a dishwasher. The folks in the retail business that sell these goods, they would have fewer costumers and in turn they would have fewer dollars for the owners of those stores," Pollack said.
The house budget would cut Medicaid spending by 5-percent in 2013; Pollack says that could put nearly 3-thousand Mississippi jobs at risk.
Representative Steve Holland of Plantersville, the chair of the Mississippi house public health committee, says Medicaid cuts concern him because the state gets 3 dollars from the federal government for every one dollar in Medicaid the state spends.
"We are looking at a 3-billion dollar health care program in the state of Mississippi that costs us about 750-million dollars. Any deviation from that means economic abyss for the state of Mississippi, in addition to lower health care access and availability," Holland said.
The changes to Medicaid are mainly supported by Republicans....Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is a vocal advocate of block grants, saying it would give the state more control over spending.
3rd district congressman Greg Harper says some gradual reduction in spending is necessary to save the program.
"If we don't do something, then we are about to pull a Thelma and Louise and drive this thing off the cliff and no one is going to have anything. So this is something you have to do," Harper said.
Harper also questions how families USA arrived at its finding, saying the organization has an anti-Republican agenda that compromises its reliability.
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