Most Mississippians are unaware that major revisions have already been implemented to impact health care delivery in the state. Many of these revisions are not contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
For example, there are current Federal provisions that contain reimbursement cuts to Mississippi hospitals totaling $5 Billion over the next 10 years. Mississippi’s 116 hospitals are already paying over $250 Million each year in “provider taxes” to fund the state’s Medicaid program, and these additional Federal cuts to hospitals will be devastating.
Some public officials have already stated Mississippi cannot afford the Medicaid eligibility expansion provided for by the Act. As taxpayers and major employers in Mississippi, hospitals certainly understand and appreciate that position.
However, failure to expand Medicaid eligibility will leave just under 200,000 Mississippians with no health care coverage at all. These Mississippians will be left “in the gap” - not eligible for Medicaid and not eligible to purchase health insurance through the health insurance exchange. The result could be devastating. Hospitals cannot be expected to treat such a large volume of people with no expectation or prospect of payment for those services. The result could very well mean the closure of many of our community hospitals. Clearly, these are burning policy issues that must be addressed fairly quickly.
MHA will be calling upon our Congressional delegation and all state leaders to address the critical issues our hospitals will face as we continue to provide jobs and quality health care in the communities we serve. In the meantime, hospitals will continue to do what we do: care for sick people and focus on quality and efficiency in delivering that care.