Medicaid reform in Mississippi is important because hundreds of thousands of Mississippians fall into what’s known as the “health care coverage gap,” stuck between making too little money to receive tax benefits and too much to receive Medicaid. Access to care through Medicaid expansion would deliver affordable coverage for those working at jobs that don’t offer insurance, and it would bring the state’s tax dollars home from Washington.
To date, 39 states and Washington, D.C. have adopted Medicaid expansion. States that expanded Medicaid have markedly less uninsured adults with CVD or CVD risk factors and greater reductions in racial disparities in access to care compared to states that did not expand Medicaid. Numerous state and national studies have found that in states that expanded Medicaid, there was a significant increase in adults receiving consistent care for their chronic conditions, an increase in the use of preventive services and screening, and increased access to specialty care. Additional studies have shown that compared with non-expansion states, states that have expanded Medicaid have experienced greater improvements in cardiovascular outcomes including larger declines in uninsured hospitalizations for cardiovascular events and smaller increases in rates of cardiovascular mortality.
When we expand access to healthcare, many lives benefit. Mississippians should not have to choose between life-saving care and putting food on the table. Furthering Medicaid expansion progress in our state requires a team effort. Every voice matters.
The Association Advocates
The American Heart Association advocates that efforts to reform the health system should incorporate the following principles to preserve and equitably expand access to adequate, affordable coverage and care to everyone living in the United States.
- Adequate health benefits must be maintained. All plans should be required to cover a full range of needed health benefits with a comprehensive and stable network of providers and plan features. Guaranteed access to evidence-based preventive services without cost sharing should be preserved. Information regarding coverage and costs should be available, actionable, simple and clear.
- Access to care must be maintained by preserving patient protections currently in place including prohibitions on preexisting condition exclusions, annual and lifetime limits, insurance policy rescissions, gender pricing and excessive premiums for older adults.
- Affordability should be improved but not at the expense of adequacy of coverage. This includes reasonable premiums and cost sharing and limits on out-of-pocket expenses including for individuals who are less healthy, older, and low-income. The health system should also emphasize the provision of high-value care, mitigate unnecessary health spending and the provision of low-value care, and ensure that affordability extends beyond individuals, to employers, governments, and society at large.
In Mississippi, we're urging state lawmakers to support Medicaid reform and help close the gap.