Rep. Cecil Brown: New proposal gives clear choice on Medicaid

Democrats in the legislature recently offered a compromise proposal to end the standoff on Medicaid expansion. Under our proposal, Mississippi would adopt Republican Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney’s idea for a state based health insurance exchange. We will then use the billions of new federal dollars we will receive under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) to allow the 300,000 working Mississippians who are currently uninsured and whose income is less than 138% of the federal poverty level to purchase individual private sector health insurance policies through the insurance exchange.

There are a number of advantages to this proposal. First, it answers the question of what happens if the federal government reneges on its promise to pay 100% of the cost of Medicaid expansion for the first 3 years and as much as 90% in subsequent years. The answer is simple. If that happens, the insurance premiums don’t get paid and the individuals’ coverage ends. There is no ongoing cost to the state.

Secondly, the bulk of the administrative cost of the new program is borne by the private insurance companies who write the policies. The law specifically allows the health insurance exchange to charge a fee to cover these costs.

Rep. Cecil Brown
Guest columnist
Clarion Ledger