Mississippi Medicaid Expansion Program and its Healthcare Challenges

Updated: Jul 4

It boils down to 21st-century Healthcare Infrastructure

Originally Published by Illumination Curated on Medium

Photo by Mark McGregor on Unsplash

Medicaid expansion program is one of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions enacted by the late president Barack Obama in 2010. The provision mandates the state's Medicaid healthcare coverage to those citizens who fall within 138% of the federal poverty line and are up to 65 years of age. But in 2012 supreme court ruled that states can not be forced to expand their Medicaid program. That is wherefore, as of January 1st, 2014, only 39 states have fully adopted and implemented the Medicaid expansion provision. Twelve states refused to adopt, and the state of Missouri adopted; however not implemented.

Mississippi is amongst the states that refused to adopt the Medicaid expansion Provision

In April 2021, Upon public demand, the Mississippi Secretary of State approved a 2022 Medicaid expansion ballot initiative. Nonetheless, the plan was suspended by the organizing committee within one month on May 19th. The decision was followed by Mississippi supreme court ruling delegitimizing the state's entire ballot, stating that the ballot initiative process was inoperable. Despite being the key issue in 2019, the Medicaid expansion is likely to fail as the Republican Governor Tate Reeves also opposes the plan.

The proponents of Medicaid expansion claim; in addition to supply health coverage to the needy, the program would potentially add 21,700 jobs, According to Mississippi Today. The twelve states that declined to expand Medicaid to their citizens argue that the expansion would also expand costs to the already economically battered state. Then again, those who favor the plan believe that since the federal government subsidizes 90% of the costs, it would be economically a win for the states. Still, in June 2021 supreme court, despite upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), tossed out its controversial Medicaid expansion component.

The Mississippi Healthcare solution and, mulling Medicaid Expansion

Scott Waller, president of the state's chamber of commerce, believes the business leaders must reconsider the politically motivated issue of Medicaid expansion before the 2022 legislative session.

He Goes stating, according to Mississippi today:

"At the end of the day, a healthy workforce is a vital component of moving our state and economy forward. We understand access to health care is a big issue in our state, and also how to deal with uncompensated care."

For generations, 1 in 5 people in the country classified as living in rural. Mississippi is a sharp contrast to the entire nation as 51.2% of its population still live in rural expanses, making it the country's 4th largest rural population.

Although health coverage and affordability of medical care are of significant importance, the coverage expansion will only go so far without providing the proper infrastructure to rural healthcare.

The Health Services and Resources Administration identifies more than 6,000 Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) for primary care across the country, with more than 65 million people living in those areas. Sixty-seven percent of HPSAs are in non-urban areas. The report states; the ratio of primary care providers to patients in these areas is less than one per 3,000. That means every doctor practicing in an underserved area is a precious resource. Any further loss of clinics and doctors in underserved areas is likely to be devastating to these communities.

The key to preserving access to healthcare in underserved parts of the country is to take steps to ensure that local clinics don't go out of business in the first place. Rather than a bailout, what these independent doctors need is a toolset that will help them keep their doors open.

As the world increasingly goes digital, clinics in non-urban areas need to be connected to government agencies and more extensive health systems. They need to streamline operations and cut costs without hiring consultants and other staff members, which would only further strain the budget.

Besides any health coverage reform, an entirely new practice management system is needed if America intends to provide good healthcare outside of urban areas, a system that gives small clinics access to the same expertise and technological advances that larger systems utilize today.