Your Turn: Medicaid - Spkr. Philip Gunn - - Jackson, MS

Your Turn: Medicaid - Spkr. Philip Gunn

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

By House Spkr. Philip Gunn

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion about expanding Medicaid in Mississippi under the Affordable Health Care Act, and I would like to discuss that here with you this evening.  I believe there are 3 critical questions we must ask ourselves:

Do we believe that government is better suited to provide healthcare?

Can we afford it?

Do we have enough facts to make an intelligent decision?  

I believe the answer to all 3 questions is NO.  

First, it is without question that competition in the private sector results in better quality and creates a more efficient provision of services. We should be discussing how to provide better health care through innovation and private sector involvement, not through expansion of more government.   

Secondly, we simply cannot afford it.  It is projected that Medicaid expansion would cost Mississippi $1 billion over the next 7 years.  The only way we could pay for such a thing would be to increase taxes or cut vital government services such as education, corrections, or public safety.  The democratic leadership claims that we would get FREE money from the federal government for expansion.  Do not be misled; this is not true. Those federal dollars are your tax dollars as well.  You will pay for any expansion that occurs.  Republicans are standing in the gap to make sure that does not happen.   

Thirdly, it appears that there is so much uncertainty about the viability of this program that we simply should not do it. Every day we receive new information about expansion that brings the wisdom of this Act into question. It is simply bad public policy, and Republicans will not stand for it.  

Finally, it should be noted that the only reason we are having to have a special session to reauthorize and fund the current Medicaid program is because the Democratic leadership - in an effort simply to make a political point - led its members to vote against these measures during the regular session.  Such a move was irresponsible and misguided and is causing you to incur the cost of a special session.

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