JACKSON, Miss.—The expansion of Medicaid that would put 300,000 more people from the state of Mississippi in the program has been a big topic in the capital city the last two weeks.
Many of the opponents to the expansion in the state say Mississippi can’t afford it.
“For the first three years the federal government is going to pay for it,” said Msgr. Elvin Sunds of Catholic leadership in the state.
After those three years Mississippi would be accountable to pay for 10% every year he said on Wednesday at the “2013 Catholic Day at the Capitol.” Each year that would be about $65 million according to Sunds.
“In the long run it’s going to save money and create jobs,” he said.
He pointed towards the medical field where each doctor that is added in the state would bring $2 million in economic growth to the state by his calculations. The 10% each year would in essence, according to Sunds, come from savings elsewhere.
“We have a moral imperative to help the poor,” Sunds said when asked the reasoning behind supporting the expansion.
Opponents to expansion have said while the church might have that moral obligation, where does that state actually draw that moral line?
The $65 million more ever year would seem to put a heavy burden on a state budget that has already seen slashes to numerous other Mississippi agencies in the last few years.
“With the jobs and economic growth that would come from the expansion it’s win-win for everybody,” said Sunds.
According to the Catholic Day press release that would amount to 9,000 jobs created and would bring in over $1 billion in new money to the state.
The real question is how fast would the state see that money, if ever, and would it be in the span of three years so the state wouldn’t be burdened in the fourth year with a fat tab. No one knows at this point and both sides seem adament.