YOUR OPINION: Letters to the Editor June 4, 2013

By NEMS Daily Journal

Mitchell’s conclusion ignores hospital losses
While I appreciate some valid points in Charlie Mitchell’s article ( “Cost shouldn’t guide Medicaid debate,” published in the Daily Journal on May 28), particularly about how statistics can create some weird conclusions, I take issue with his overall conclusion about Medicaid expansion in our state – and strongly object to the analogy he uses to support it.
While it’s true that giving a losing coach a raise and expecting his or her team to consequently win more games would be an unwise expectation, surely one would not expect that taking away the coach’s salary – the way that person makes a livelihood – would help the team in any way.
This is precisely what failing to go with the ACA Medicaid expansion in Mississippi will do. Without even considering the positive direct and derivative benefits of better health coverage for the thousands of lower income citizens of our state that would be realized by expansion, one salient fact of several remains: Hospital reimbursements will be reduced. This is not a question mark. It will happen regardless of what our state leaders vote to do about the issue. The ACA is the federal law of the land and will continue to be so for at least the next few years (after its 37th attempt it should be obvious to all that Congress is not going to succeed in repealing it).
Without accepting the expansion to offset these reductions, our hospitals – particularly the rural ones – will be hard-pressed to keep operating. Given this reality, it is very difficult to accept the stated opinion (according to the article) of Dr. David Dzielak, appointed by Gov. Bryant to direct the Mississippi Division of Medicaid, that “there’s no reason to believe increasing Medicaid spending will result in better health, overall, for Mississippians.” Are we to believe access to hospital emergency room and patient care has no bearing on the health of Mississippians?

(Rev.) Dr. Rick Brooks
St. Luke United Methodist Church
Tupelo