Medicaid Reform: Hospitals propose plan to broaden access

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The Mississippi Hospital Association says uninsured patients who are unable to pay for emergency care are putting stress on hospitals, some of which have closed, because of a lack of payment.

And that’s just one fact.

MAH says a proposal for Medicaid reform will be a public-private partnership and will not cost the taxpayers a cent.

The plan will be owned by the hospitals with patients paying $20 or less per month for an individual making $17,000 annually or $35,000 annually for a family of four.

Association CEO Tim Moore says he met with Governor Phil Bryant and the Medicaid Director late last year about the proposal, but it went nowhere.

Now, he says it’s time.

“Well you know we feel like if you look across the state of Mississippi and you look at the support that’s in this room that it’s time to move forward with it — I think probably our administration our leadership needs to understand there’s a lot of support in Mississippi to move forward with a plan like this.”

According to the group, since 2015 E.R. visits went up 155 percent for Medicaid patients and the cost has risen by nearly 50 percent.

Advocates say the plan will be paid for by hospitals and matched with federal funds. The group says they believe this will create upwards of 19,000 jobs and increase the general fund by 50 to 100M dollars.

WJTV reported last year Bryant was quietly considering Medicaid expansion but he then denied he was considering it. For now, leadership at the Capitol says there is no chance for expansion.

Governor Phil Bryant’s office sent out the following statement.

Governor Bryant continues to oppose Medicaid expansion, which is estimated to cost the state billions in the years and decades ahead. The following are just a few improvements we’ve made in the past seven years.

•             Expanded the University of Mississippi School of Medicine
•             Established the Office of Physician Workforce to create new medical       residency programs      
•             Expanded the rural physicians scholarship
•             Established the rural dentist scholarship
•             Required health insurance plans in Mississippi to cover telemedicine
•             Created tax exemptions inside “healthcare industry zones” for businesses – like laboratory testing facilities and medical supply distributors – that create jobs near major hospitals or in small communities

Just two weeks ago, Governor Bryant established a taskforce on rural healthcare where the taskforce will discuss various ways to improve access to and the viability of rural health facilities in Mississippi.

Mississippi Hospitals proposed a plan called ‘Mississippi Cares’ which makes some pretty big claims.

Healthcare professionals say the program would cover up to 300,000 uninsured people who are not eligible for Medicare while pumping $1B into the state economy.

Under the plan, a public-private partnership between the State, Mississippi hospital and Mississippi True would enroll people up to 138% of the poverty level. That works out to $17,000 in income for an individual and $35,000 for a family of four. 

Participants would pay $20 a month in premiums with a $100 co-pay for non-emergency visits to the E.R.

According to association CEO Tim Moore, uncompensated care costs upwards of $600M a year. Advocates cite need as the number one cost driver despite relatively low healthcare costs in Mississippi.

Mississippi True would administer the plan. It is owned by hospitals and provider-sponsored.

MHA claims the plan would create some 19,000 jobs and spur nearly $100M in revenue along with an increase of some $600M in personal income.

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