Submitted by State Senator Chad McMahan
Serving as a public official, I attempt to visit every area of the district I represent regularly. What is taking place in the cities and what is going on in the rural communities are equally important to me. I believe we are going to succeed or fail as a region.
Travelling throughout the district which represents North Lee and Western Itawamba Counties, I’m hearing from more and more businesses and taxpayers of all demographics about the need to have a discussion about Medicaid expansion.
Of importance, Medicaid is not a government welfare program. Medicaid is a government insurance program that offers minimum insurance coverage. Currently, 1 out of 3 Mississippians participate in Medicaid. Many Mississippians are unable to afford private insurance or are excluded from private insurance coverage based on preexisting conditions. Let me reiterate, 1 out of 3 Mississippians are currently enrolled in the minimum insurance program known as Medicaid. There are projections that 1 out of 2 Mississippians will be on Medicaid in the next 10 years. It’s time to have another discussion about Medicaid expansion.
Sustainable and affordable access to healthcare for Mississippians is important to me. Whether that healthcare or insurance is public or private is the field of discussion. I would prefer a private sector solution if one is available that is affordable, sustainable, and offers access to world class healthcare.
I’m hearing from farmers, who are small business owners employing as many as 10 employees, that want health insurance for their families and their employees. Some of the largest corporations in the state are located in the district I represent, and they are expressing their desire to expand Medicaid for their employees and their families. All of the companies and their owners are deeply concerned and want the best for their employees and their families. It is my responsibility to listen to their concerns and at least consider the numbers and what a possible expansion of the Medicaid program would look like and cost.
I am not taking a position on Medicaid expansion at this time. However, I am willing to have hearings to look at the latest data and results and follow that data wherever it leads. If it makes sense for the taxpayers and it brings healthcare to all working Mississippians, it’s my duty to at least review and consider the information.