Monday, May 12, 2014

Health Care for Working Mississippians Cheaper Than Predicted

A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finds that expanding health care access for working people across the country will cost less than initially projected. There are still a number of states, as shown in the map below, that are not pursing the policy of expanded health care access at this time. Mississippi is still on that list.

So why the stubbornness to help keep poor Americans from falling further into poverty? The conclusion: ideology. Governors in the states highlighted in orange continue to say no; the governor of Montana supports expanding health care opportunity, but his legislature refuses to go along. There are some states highlighted in dark blue that have both Republican governors and legislatures, such as Ohio, Arizona, and North Dakota, which are expanding Medicaid access and keeping their poorest citizens from going financially bankrupt.

The CBO report shows that enrolling more working families in Medicaid will not be the budget buster that was once feared. In fact, the report says it will cost billions of dollars less than projected four years ago.

For years, Governor Bryant has objected to expanded health care access and financial security for his fellow Mississippians because he thinks it will be too much of a burden on the state's budget. He can no longer say that to be the truth, and I genuinely hope he will reconsider his long-held position. Opponents of expansion are running out of excuses while working Mississippians continue to fear losing their life savings the next time they need to visit a doctor.

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