Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rep. Cecil Brown knocks it out of the park in Medicaid expansion editorial

In today's Clarion-Ledger, Rep. Cecil Brown (D - Jackson) makes the case for Medicaid expansion.  In doing so, he compares the projected costs and benefits of the recent Yokohama tire plant economic package passed nearly unanimously by the Legislature to the projected costs and benefits of Medicaid expansion, which is mired in partisan bickering and gubernatorial grandstanding.

With respect to the Yokohama facility, Rep. Brown writes:
The math is pretty simple. In the short run, the state will spend $70 million to create 500 jobs, a cost of $140,000 per job. Over time, the state will spend $130 million for 2,000 jobs, $65,000 per job. Not cheap, but in line with similar projects. This project is the latest in a long line of “economic development” projects that the state has helped fund with taxpayer dollars. Other states do the same.
With respect to Medicaid expansion, the numbers are better.  According to Rep. Brown:
Now comes an even larger economic development project at a much lower cost to the state — the expansion of the state Medicaid program. Here’s how it works. Mississippi will agree to add about 300,000 working Mississippians who currently have no health insurance to its Medicaid program. In exchange, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the medical costs of the expansion for the first three years. After that, the federal reimbursement rate will slowly decrease to 90 percent where it will remain. According to the same Mississippi economists who vetted the Clay County project, over the next 10 years Mississippi will receive new federal monies of nearly $10 billion at a net cost to the state of $368 million. The economists also project the creation of nearly 9,000 new jobs. These numbers alone argue for expansion.

And that's just one of the many, many reasons to expand Medicaid, which include avoiding the closure of rural hospitals.  Rep. Brown does a pretty strong job of reviewing them all. His editorial is a must read for Mississippians.

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