Report To The People
It is no secret that many rural hospitals and others like Greenwood-Leflore Hospital are being threatened with closure and emergency rooms in many areas are already closed. About 300,000 Mississippians are without health insurance, thus they are often reluctant to seek help for even life-threatening conditions.
While we do not have accurate numbers to show how many of our fellow Mississippians have had serious adverse health events or deaths because of these circumstances, one is too many. The Legislature has an opportunity to help relieve this burden on our citizens. Lt. Gov. Delbert Houseman has proposed a moderate, sensible hospital aide bill that could at least help to prevent the closure of hospitals in areas that most need the support. I thank him for taking this position.
There is no reason that a Mississippian should be forced to drive hours to get the healthcare they need.
A primary cause of hospitals difficulties has been our state’s leaving about $10 billion in federal funds on the table rather than to take advantage of a program that 39 other states have adopted called “Medicaid Expansion.” This Program would provide health care to 300,000 Mississippians the majority of whom are hard working but not high wage earners who lack insurance benefits at their jobs.
I support efforts of the Mississippi Hospital Association through the years to expand Medicaid and take advantage of federal funds available to our state as our neighboring states of Arkansas and Louisiana have done. Our hospitals, health care providers and sick folks need and deserve it.
It is time. It is past time for us to do everything we can to support our local hospitals, offer our citizens accessible health care, and provide jobs for those whose training and hope is to serve their fellow Mississippians in healthcare professions.
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