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New Projection: Medicaid Expansion Could Mean 15-billion Increase in Federal Spending in Mississippi

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 24 Jan 2013 03:20pm | comments
Rachel Garfield

A new report from a non-profit health care group projects that expanding Medicaid in Mississippi could mean an influx of nearly 16-billion dollars to Mississippi health care providers. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports these new numbers are much higher than previous projections.

The Kaiser Family foundation is releasing new data about the potential impact of expanding Medicaid in Mississippi.

It predicts that every one dollar of state spending could lead to 14 dollars of federal spending to Mississippi health care providers.

Dr. Rachel Garfield shared the findings with a handful of health care advocates and democratic lawmakers in Jackson yesterday.

Garfield says expanding Medicaid would mean 15-point-7-billion dollars in new federal health care spending in the state over the next ten years.

"It goes to providers. It goes to hospitals. it goes to physicians. It goes to nurse practitioners. It goes to clinics. All of the health care providers that are going to see these individuals," Garfield said.

Garfield also projects that it will cost the state 1-point-2 billion dollars over that same ten years...which she says amounts to a 1-percent increase in state spending.

The health care reform law gives Mississippi lawmakers the option to expand the program which could add nearly 300-thousand Mississippians.

After hearing the new information, Democratic Representative David Baria of Bay St. Louis says Medicaid expansion is looking increasingly positive for Mississippi.

"This is the same principal that we hear our republican colleagues talk about all the time. You give more revenue to the hospital system and even though there is an increased cost, perhaps, they will create jobs which will offset that cost. So I think it is a good idea," Baria said.

Leading Republicans have firmly rejected expanding Medicaid.

Governor Phil Bryant used his state of the state address this week to reaffirm his opposition on the basis of cost to the state.

"Any law that will add 300-thousand Mississippians to a federal entitlement program, partially funded by the state, will either result in a huge tax increase or drastic cuts to education, public safety, job creation and other budget," Bryant said.

Whether or not Mississippi chooses to expand the program could rest in Republican hands since the GOP controls both chambers and the Governor's chair.


Rachel Garfield



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