Health advocacy groups support Medicaid expansion - - Jackson, MS

Health advocacy groups support Medicaid expansion

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There are still a lot of unknowns regarding President Obama's Affordable Care Act, which will require all families to be insured by 2014. Some groups are pushing for the State of Mississippi to add 300,000 more people to the Medicaid rolls. Right now, about 640,000 are on the rolls.

The Mississippi Health Advocacy Program named construction workers and their families as an example of who might be eligible.

"These are individuals who are working who can't afford coverage on the private market, or their employer doesn't provide coverage. It's a huge opportunity for working families," says Advocacy Program Director Roy Mitchell.

Advocates held a telephone conference Monday morning with health care providers who want to know more about it.

"Instead of taking routine care in the emergency room, Mississippians would be able to receive quality care at lower costs," Mitchell said during the conference.

Even though the Federal government would fund the first three years of an expansion, Governor Phil Bryant says don't be fooled. It will cost $1.6 billion between now and 2019.

"We're $90 million short on the proposed budget. Obamacare... will cost us $30 million next year that we don't have. We can't afford the 640,000 medicaid recipients we have now. To expand it by 300,000 would necessarily take a huge tax increase and draconian cuts in existing programs," Governor Byrant says. 

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