The White House Council of Economic Advisers reports that expanding Medicaid in Mississippi, would provide health insurance coverage for 139,000 low-income families in 2016. It would mean access to medical and preventive care. Pamela Roshelle with the Department of Human Services says Mississippi is losing money.
"The tax dollars that could be coming into Mississippi are actually are going to other states that have expanded Medicaid." said Rochelle.
Rochelle says those states receive 100 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid through 2016. It then drops over time to 90 percent by the year 2020. She says by law funding will not go below 90 percent. Jarvis Dortch with the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program says the government pays 75 percent of the state's Medicaid costs. Expanding it would mean more funding. He adds the state is losing more than one billion dollars per year. Dortch estimates the expansion would create about 20,000 jobs and nearly $850 million in tax revenue over eight years.
"Those individuals go out and spend their paychecks on things like groceries or cars or houses, so it generates billions of dollars for the economy. So, it actually wouldn't cost the state anything." said Dortch.
Dortch says, Louisiana passed Medicaid expansion last week, Arkansas has passed a plan and Tennessee's governor is in favor of it.
In a statement from Governor Phil Bryant's Office he said quote:"Mississippi is one of the many, many states that have chosen not to saddle taxpayers with the crushing burden of additional Medicaid costs. The governor said even without the expansion, Obamacare has forced tens of thousands of additional people onto Mississippi Medicaid rolls and the numbers continue to climb."