Build Back Better is an Important but Temporary Fix for Working Mississippians Without Health Insurance

NOVEMBER 19, 2021
CONTACT – Patrick Taylor, ptaylor@mscenterforjustice.org769-230-2841 


Build Back Better is Important but Temporary Fix for Working Mississippians Without Health Insurance, says Vangela M. Wade of the Mississippi Center for Justice 


Jackson, MS – Today, Congress is one step closer to passing the Build Back Better Act, which includes measures to close the Medicaid coverage gap.  


Vangela M. Wade, President and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice, released the following statement in response: 


“Mississippi Center for Justice applauds the provisions in the Build Back Better Act that would help low-income people access health care in the 12 states that have yet to expand Medicaid, including Mississippi. Closing this coverage gap is the single most impactful action Congress can take to dismantle the systemic racism built into our healthcare system. It would improve the health outcomes of over two million Americans, most of whom are people of color who live in the South. Under the plan, more than 160,000 hard-working, low-wage Mississippians would become eligible for coverage and gain access to the care they need.   


We are encouraged that the United States House of Representatives has voted to pass the Build Back Better Act. It is now crucial that the Senate finish the job. 


“HOWEVER, Build Back Better is not a panacea. The provisions that close the coverage gap are only temporary. Yes, it is a victory for working Mississippians, but it is a fleeting one. Mississippi’s legislators must enact Medicaid expansion at the state level. Expansion would raise the 90 percent federal matching rate to 93 percent for three years.  That would be on top of the American Rescue Plan’s permanent provision that increases the matching rate by 5 percent for a state’s entire Medicaid program. For hold-out states like Mississippi, the financial incentives to expand Medicaid are enormous.


Estimates suggest that Mississippi would see a net gain of $400 million over two years, fully covering the cost of expansion – even before the increased match of Build Back Better. Hundreds of studies have shown the value of Medicaid expansion for the health and economic security of Mississippians and our health care system.


“It’s time to address the needs of Mississippi’s working families by ensuring that they have access to the health insurance they need to take care of themselves and their families. Mississippi’s lawmakers can’t keep playing politics with people’s lives. We are in a position to greatly benefit both the overall health and economic well-being of our state. Medicaid expansion is a no-brainer.” 



Mississippi Center for Justice is a non-profit pro bono law firm dedicated to dismantling Mississippi’s culture of injustice.