Voters surveyed want tax dollars brought back to the state to expand Medicaid health care
Published 9:15 am Wednesday, January 5, 2022
JACKSON, Miss. – The expansion of Medicaid in Mississippi to residents earning less than $18,000 a year has the strong support of voters age 50+ in the state, according to new research released today by AARP Mississippi.
The survey found that almost seven in ten older voters (68%) see Medicaid expansion as important. Medicaid is the government program that covers health care and long-term care for Americans with low incomes, including seniors, adults with young children, and persons with disabilities. It is jointly funded by the federal and state governments.
“Expanding Medicaid will help about 44,000 Mississippians aged 50-64 who have lost their jobs or are struggling to make ends meet in jobs without health benefits,” said Kimberly L. Campbell, Esq., State Director of AARP Mississippi, which serves more than 260,000 members age 50+ in the state. “These hard-working family, friends and neighbors earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but earn too little to be eligible for other affordable health care coverage.”
Expanding Medicaid would not only help these individuals, it would also help the state’s economy and budget. Medicaid expansion will create an estimated 21,700 jobs, according to The Commonwealth Fund. It also would help Mississippi’s rural hospitals keep their doors open and retain doctors and nurses. Furthermore, due to a recent change in federal law, if Mississippi lawmakers expand Medicaid health care to residents who earn under $18,000 a year, an additional bonus of $400 million in tax dollars will come back to Mississippi from Washington, D.C.
“Mississippi is one of only 12 states that has not expanded Medicaid,” Campbell said. “If we don’t, those tax dollars will keep being sent to other states like Arkansas, California, Louisiana and New York, instead of coming home to Mississippi. We can’t let that keep happening.”
AARP’s survey shows strong bipartisan support for Mississippi state lawmakers to bring that $400 million dollar bonus back to the state to expand Medicaid, with 99% of Democrats, 82% of Republicans and 81% of Independents saying it is important to do so.
“If the legislature does nothing, tens of thousands of Mississippians will continue to lack the health coverage they need and the state will lose out on a $400 million dollar bonus in tax dollars returned to us from Washington,” Campbell said. “The voters of Mississippi want and need Medicaid expansion. The time for action is now.”