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A new report released by the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program (MHAP) indicates that Medicaid expansion would generate 20,000 new jobs and produce $14 billion in new economic activity while providing health insurance to over 220,000 Mississippians.

The report, An Economic Analysis of the State and Local Impact of Medicaid Expansion in Mississippi, is the first study to look at the fiscal impact of Medicaid on the state and local communities.

Click here to read the report. 

State Leaders have only considered the direct cost of paying for Medicaid expansion and ignored the physical benefits of expanding health insurance. However, this study shows that rejecting Medicaid expansion affects both the physical and fiscal health of the state budget and local communities.

"By Refusing to expand Medicaid, our state leaders are costing our cities and counties thousands of new jobs and economic activity," said Roy Mitchell, Executive Director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program.

While rejecting expansion is a fiscal loss to the state as a whole, the study finds that refusal to expand Medicaid is costing Mississippi counties and cities new economic opportunities. In Metro Jackson (Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties) alone, expansion would lead to 2,712 new jobs and $279 million in economic activity.

The study was authored by David Becker and Michael Morrisey of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Department of Health Care Organization and Policy. "Unlike other industries which have a narrower footprint within states, the health care sector plays a critical role in the economy of each of Mississippi's 82 counties," stated Becker.

The report reveals that Medicaid expansion stands to be an economic driver for the state. For every $1 in increased federal Medicaid spending yields an additional 0.59-0.64 cents of indirect economic activity.

"When new Medicaid enrollees have access to health coverage, they will also have more disposable income to directly spend in other sectors of the economy such as grocery and retail stores and even housing," said Becker. "The billions in new federal funding would create a demand for thousands of new jobs, a healthier workforce and a stronger state economy."

Despite opponents' claims that Mississippi cannot afford expansion, the authors found that Medicaid expansion would result in a net gain for the state. Under the most likely expansion enrollment scenario, Mississippi would invest $579 million from 2014 to 2020. However, over the same period, the State would see over $1.4 billion in increased tax revenues as a result. That totals to a net gain of $848 million in new tax revenues.

Located in Jackson, MHAP Strives to be a strong, effective voice for improved health care for all throughout the state of Mississippi. MHAP works with legislators, advocates, service providers and community leaders to make health and economic policy and funding patterns more responsive to real health needs.