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Study: Medicaid Expansion Could Essentially Be ‘Free’

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 12 Dec 2013 05:15pm | comments
Senator David Blount (left) and study author David Becker

A new study of Medicaid expansion in Mississippi says the new tax revenue created by expansion would be greater than the yearly cost to the state. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports Medicaid expansion is also projected to bring in one-billion new federal dollars a year and create 20-thousand jobs.

The report is being issued by groups seeking to rally support to expanded Medicaid  to another 220-thousand Mississippians, the majority of whom are currently uninsured.

The study's author David Becker from The university of Alabama Birmingham says the economic activity created by the influx of money would generate hundreds of Millions of dollars in new tax revenue every year effectively making expansion 'free'.

"Even out to 2020 where the state is at the full 10% match rate that is going to be required there after, the state still comes out ahead.The cost them is 167-million dollars and they are going to be generating 200-million dollars in new tax revenue," Becker said.

Becker's study also claims that Medicaid expansion would generate 20-thousand jobs and lead to more than 1-billion dollars a year in new federal spending in Mississippi.

The report comes as state lawmakers prepare to return to Jackson for the legislative session next month.

Activist groups and Democratic lawmakers like Senator David Blount of Jackson are trying to build support and momentum for Medicaid expansion.

"As hospitals begin to feel the impact of these cuts. And as people begin to recognize the opportunity cost that we are missing. I think that minds might begin to shift," Blount said.

The Republican led state legislature rejected Medicaid expansion last year and G-O-P leaders Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn seem unlikely to shift their opinion.

"I don't anticipate that anything has changed in terms of the mood of the legislature as it relates to Medicaid expansion," Reeves said.

"We have all seen the implosion of Obamacare. I would be surprised they would try to continue that agenda given all the problems that it has right now," Gunn said.

The report projects that Medicaid expansion could cost the state 579-million over seven years.

That is in line with, but slightly higher, than previous predictions from the institutions of higher learning, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the state division of Medicaid.

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Senator David Blount (left) and study author David Becker


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