Mississippi needs Medicaid expansion

Published in the Clarion Ledger

In the Oct. 10 article, “Bryant: Federal health law hurts Miss. economy,” Gov. Phil Bryant repeated his opposition to expanding Medicaid.

As health law director for the Mississippi Center for Justice, I know that expanding Medicaid will not only help hundreds of thousands of Mississippians live healthier lives, it will also result in job creation and help Mississippi’s economy. If states participate in the expansion, they will receive 100 percent federal funding for the first three years, followed by 95 percent, and gradually to 90 percent thereafter.

Mississippi has one of the lowest rates in the country of residents who receive insurance from their employers. The majority of Mississippians who will be eligible for Medicaid under the expansion are working adults. The proposed expansion is a viable way to ensure that all of our state’s citizens have health care coverage.

In my job, I see families struggling without access to healthcare, and I know how valuable this program would be to the 1 in 5 Mississippians under the age of 65 who went without health insurance in 2011.

This is an excellent opportunity for both our citizens and our economy, and I urge Mississippi to move forward with the expansion.

Linda Dixon Rigsby