YOUR OPINION: Letters to the Editor February 1, 2013

By NEMS Daily Journal

Concerned for health of all Mississippians?
I would like to present for your consideration for the expansion of the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.
Should we not be concerned for the health of all Mississippians? After all, according to statistics, Mississippi is the state with the highest percentage of people who are obese. Also, our state ranks as the state with the highest rate of poverty. This tell us something about the need for health care.
Medicaid expansion creates jobs. According to estimates by the Institutions of Higher Learning approximately 9,000 jobs will be created. The Mississippi Hospital Association has joined the Mississippi Health Access Coalition for promotion of the Medicaid expansion. Mississippi hospitals currently receive more than $210 million annually in federal funds that cover the cost of about 40 percent of the uncompensation care they deliver. These payments will be phased out under the Affordable Care Act, presuming the hospitals would be treating fewer no-pay patients.
Medicaid expansion supports work. The majority of people who would be eligible for Medicaid through expansion are working, mostly in low paying jobs. They don’t qualify for present day Medicaid and can’t afford to buy insurance. People with health insurance miss less work.
The cost to the state for expansion is minimum. For the first three years, starting in 2014, the federal government pays 100 percent of the costs. After that, the federal share will stair-step down each year to 90 percent in 2020, where it will remain.
Considering all these reasons, I can’t understand why our governor is opposed to the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Rev. Gerald Peterson
Pontotoc