As Mississippians continue to sign up for private health insurance coverage through the federal health insurance exchange, there is one group of Mississippians who are being left out. Mississippians who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but who don’t earn enough to qualify for subsidies to purchase insurance through the health insurance exchange. The Affordable Care Act was designed to cover these folks through the expansion of Medicaid. However, in states like Mississippi that have decided not to expand Medicaid, these folks will go without coverage.
A graphic from MEPC created earlier this year shows the income group included and some common occupations that make up that group. They include cooks, cashiers, truck drivers, food service workers, and child care workers. The graphic below gives an idea of the size of this group in Mississippi. If there was a city made up entirely of folks in the coverage gap, it would be the second largest city in Mississippi.
In January, lawmakers will have an opportunity to reconsider expansion of Medicaid. For the first three years, 100% of the medical services costs would be picked up by the federal government and when fully phased in in 2020 and beyond, they will pay 90%. Not only would expansion provide much needed health care for the state’s working poor, it would also create 9,000 jobs and bring in $1 billion in new money into our state. It’s a good deal for our state’s economy and our working families.