Monday, March 4, 2013

Medicaid Money & Dr. Phil: Asking for Answers but Avoiding the Questions

This weekend, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal ran opposing opinions from Governor Phil Bryant and Senator Hob Bryan (D-Amory) regarding Medicaid expansion in our state. You can read each of them by clicking on their respective links. They are both worth a detailed read.

A major new talking point of Governor Bryant’s excuse for avoiding expansion is that the we should not hurry into accepting the prospects of Medicaid expansion, and that we must discuss our options thoroughly, saying:
Let me assure you, expanding the Medicaid program will have huge implications for this state’s budget, affecting you, your children and even your grandchildren. At a minimum, the decision should not be rushed.

It seems obvious that expanding Medicaid will have huge implications, namely extremely positive ones such as better health care for Mississippians and strengthened programs in our private medical industry.

But Senator Bryan quickly responded today with another important point:

Gov. Phil Bryant says the legislature should reauthorize the division of Medicaid and wait until we have more information before making a decision about expanding the program. The state Senate unanimously voted to do that very thing, but Speaker Phillip Gunn – with the support of the governor – had our proposal sent to the house rules committee to be killed. Apparently Gov. Bryant and Speaker Gunn feel they don’t need any more information.

Lastly, Senator Bryan acknowledged a fact that Governor Jan Brewer (R-Arizona), Governor Rick Scott (R – Florida), and Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio) already know. Medicaid expansion is going to occur. Are we going to pay for other states to do it, or are we going to control our own destiny?

I suspect Governor Bryant already knows the answer to that, too. But he keeps avoiding the question.

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