Senate Public Health Committee Chairman Dean Kirby, R-Pearl, said he doesn’t think expansion will be approved this year to prepare for 2014. Even if a bill were to pass the House and Senate, Kirby said the governor has made it clear he’d veto it.
“We do not have the votes to override a veto, I’ll tell you that,” Kirby said.
Mississippi’s population is about 3 million. In September, 641,573 state residents were on Medicaid. An expansion could add an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people. Estimates vary on how much an expansion would cost the state, and how much it would bring in over the next several years.
In October, researchers with the state Institutions of Higher Learning issued a report that examined three possible expansion scenarios: The high rate would be for 95 percent of newly eligible people to sign up for Medicaid coverage; the medium rate would be 85 percent participation; and the low rate would be 75 percent participation.
Using the 95 percent participation rate, which researchers considered the most likely scenario, the study shows 310,039 people could be added by 2025. In that year, Mississippi would spend $159.1 million more on Medicaid than it is spending now, while the state would receive an additional $63.3 million in revenue. That puts the state’s loss of money at $95.8 million.
Bryant said he worries federal government will renege on its promise to pay expansion costs after 2020, leaving the state with a huge expense.
“I am not going to put my children burdened with that type of debt into the future,” Bryant said.