Opponents: Can’t afford Medicaid expansion

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 22, 2014

In the Mississippi legislature this week, the House of Representatives once again voted against expanding the Medicaid program to help more than 230,000 uninsured working residents.

Opponents of the expansion, along with the governor claim the state can’t afford the expansion even though the federal government pays a majority of the costs.

The decision has less to do with the budget constraints and more to do with the political statement made by denying the expansion.

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As Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson pointed out in his debate, most lawmakers qualify for taxpayer funded health insurance for their part-time jobs, but are choosing to ignore their constituents who are in need of the same assistance.

While they make a political statement and combat a federal healthcare plan that has already been passed as a law and ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, they are hurting the people they were elected to protect.

These are difficult financial times for everyone, from voters to governmental bodies and hard decisions have to be made, but the lawmakers are ignoring a basic need of every human being in this world, health care.

Without expanding Medicaid, residents of Mississippi are missing out on a health care program that was developed to help them. The people the Medicaid program is trying to help are the needy, aged, blind and disabled.

Some people who qualify for Medicaid have jobs, but they don’t make enough annually to be above the poverty level.

These people are not necessarily sitting at home all day collecting their government checks, as people like to stereotype. They are hard working people who need a little help.

By expanding Medicaid, you are improving the welfare of the residents in this state, which has long-term benefits.

If the state can help provide basic healthcare, it helps prevent having to pay for the more expensive medical care that becomes necessary when a minor medical condition continues to go untreated.