Published this week in the New York Times, this article describes the decaying state of Greenwood Leflore Hospital, a 117 year-old facility in the Mississippi Delta that may be within months of closure. While rural hospitals across the country are struggling, Mississippi’s firm opposition to Medicaid expansion has exacerbated the problem in that state, by depriving providers of an additional $1.4B per year in federal funds. Instead, only a few of the state’s 100-plus hospitals actually turn an annual profit, and uncompensated care costs are almost 10 percent of the average hospital’s operating costs.
Despite a dozen or more hospitals at imminent risk of closure, Mississippi officials would rather use the state’s $3.9B budget surplus to lower or eliminate the state income tax.
The Gist: Expanding Medicaid doesn’t just reduce rates of uncompensated care provided by hospitals, it changes the volume and type of care they provide.
Further, Medicaid expansion has been found to result in significant reductions in all-cause mortality.
Ensuring that low-income residents in Mississippi and other non-expansion states have access to Medicaid would allow providers to administer more preventive care and manage chronic diseases more effectively, before costly exacerbations require hospitalization.