Mississippi faces opportunity to improve healthcare model

Last year in Mississippi, uncompensated care, those costs incurred in treating uninsured patients, totaled $525.5 million. Of that amount, $315 million was not covered by any federal reimbursement program and was, instead, passed on to Mississippi taxpayers.

House Democratic Caucus Leader Bobby Moak (D – Bogue Chitto) said, “Mississippi hospitals and taxpayers make up for uncompensated care through higher taxes and higher costs for healthcare.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, deemed constitutional by the United States Supreme Court last week, many states will take advantage of Medicaid options that drastically reduce the amount lost each year to uncompensated care. According to estimates provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 330,000 Mississippians will be newly eligible for Medicaid under the plan.

“If those thousands of Mississippians who are currently using our emergency rooms for ‘doctors visits’ are able to access health insurance, it will drive down the amount Mississippi spends on uncompensated care,” said Moak.

Under the plan, Mississippi would receive $1.6137 billion per year for three years from the federal government to cover the cost of new healthcare recipients.

Brandon Jones, Executive Director of the Mississippi Democratic Trust, said, “This is a total of $4.8411 billion dollars in new healthcare funding that will not require tax increases at the local level or result in higher hospital bills for insured Mississippians.”

In the fourth year of the program, Mississippi would receive $6.29343 billion and would only be required to provide $161.37 million match.

Moak said, “Mississippi would pay no matching costs for three years and the matching costs in the fourth year would only represent a fraction of what we already pay annually for uncompensated care.”

Jones added, “Refusing healthcare funding under these circumstances would be a classic example of cutting off our nose to spite our face.”

MS Democratic Trust
7/5/12