Medicaid expansion complex, difficult

By NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Mississippi will pay a high cost no matter what road it chooses with Medicaid expansion.
“This is a challenging situation even in a best case scenario,” said North Mississippi Health Services vice president for community hospitals Tim Moore, one of three health care advocates participating in the community forum hosted by CATCH Kids Friday.
To cover expanded Medicaid coverage, Mississippi will pay an estimated $159 million annually by 2025, offset by $1.2 billion in federal money.
“The knee jerk reaction is to look only at one side of the ledger sheet,” said Tupelo pulmonologist Dr. Jim Rish, president-elect of the Mississippi State Medical Association, but either decision has far-reaching implications.
Expanded coverage would boost the state’s health care economy; however, it would strain an already stressed health care delivery system. Because federal disproportionate share funding will be reduced, Mississippi hospitals will fill a major pinch – $261 million between 2014 and 2020 if Mississippi doesn’t expand Medicaid.
“It is likely you will see closure of hospitals without interventions to make up the difference,” said Signe Shackelford of the nonpartisan Center for Mississippi Health Care Policy.
michaela.morris@journalinc.com