Sunday, June 16, 2019

Bill Crawford: Foster Pushes Medicaid Reform

Successful DeSoto County small businessman Robert Foster is one of the more conservative members of the Mississippi Legislature, e.g. the American Conservative Union gave him a 95% "conservative" rating in 2018.

Serving his first term as a state representative, Foster decided not to seek re-election but put his name on the ballot for governor. He said his experience these four years is the reason.

"Career politicians have been in charge for too long," he said, adding that many are good people but get captured by the system over time. "I realized the same thing would happen to me if I stayed." He argues this system maintains policies that "keep us in last place."

Relying on his lens as a small businessman he sees education too focused on university transfer while what we need is more skills training in high school and community college. He sees the tax structure out of kilter and proposes replacing income taxes with use taxes. He sees incarceration policies unbalanced between violent criminals and non-violent criminals with drug addictions and mental health problems.

And, he sees the need for Medicaid reform to cover more low-income working people.

His Medicaid position comes from his own hiring experience at his agri-tourism business. Cedar Hill Farms hires people to grow crops like pumpkins, gourds, and Christmas trees. It hires people to operate and perform in family friendly activities and events. It hires people to sell farm produce and other items to the 50,000 agri-tourists who show up for the activities and events. Some hires are full-time but many are seasonal.

Foster said he sees too many hard working families unable to afford health insurance.

He is one of the few conservatives in the Legislature who has been willing to publicly consider reforming Medicaid to address this problem.

"What we do now is not conservative and is not working," he says. He speaks favorably about a new Medicaid reform plan put out by the Mississippi Hospital Association called Mississippi Cares.

This plan would provide health insurance for low-income, able-bodied working adults and their dependents at no additional costs to the state. Instead, participants would pay low monthly premiums and some co-pays to help cover costs. Hospitals would pick up the remaining amount not covered by the federal government.

Projections show from 169,000 to 300,000 working families would receive affordable health insurance coverage. It would also encourage current Medicaid recipients to go to work. Under current policies, most lose coverage when they get a job.

Under this plan Mississippi hospitals would take on the responsibility for managing the care of new participants. That's how hospitals would be able to cover its share of the costs. Instead of millions of dollars going to out-of-state insurance companies who manage the current Medicaid plans, most of that money would stay in state and go to cover program costs.

This, of course, is the most politically contentious part of the plan. With huge contributions to one of the other candidates for governor, additional contributions and connections to other key politicians, and well-paid lobbyists, these companies know how to win in the flawed system Foster wants to change.

At this point, few give Foster much chance to win the race for governor. But don't be surprised if his small businessman perspective of how conservative government should work wins lots of converts.

Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.


Anonymous said...

Medicaid reform = Medicaid expansion. No thanks.

Bull Shirt said...

As Bill Crawford, who serves on a hospital board knows, the hospital association collects millions each year from these “poor” hospitals to fund this scheme. That money would have been better spent on sick folks. The executives of that association make over a million dollars a year. More money that could go to reduce the financial strain they claim to have. The association hired out of state partners to run their “plan”. Bogus and hypocritical. He wants the fox guarding the hen house. That is how the problem was created before managed care companies became the gatekeeper. They brought those providers into accountability and starting eliminating the good ole boys health system controlled by doctors and hospitals.

Anonymous said...

Drivel. Crawford is on the board on Anderson Regional, one of the hospitals with a board seat on the insurance company/worker cooperative that wants a no-bid contract to control Medicaid expansion. This expansion-shilling hospital cabal doesn’t care one iota about the social reasons for Medicaid expansion ... they see it as a get-rich-quick scheme and an opportunity to prolong their prehistoric, failing business model ... when their plan doesn’t rake in profits like their trade association promised them, they’ll be back at the legislature asking for a bailout and blaming everybody but themselves. It’s pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I just cant overlook Foster's Twitter comments from November of 2018... Real leadership builds consensus.

Cynical Sam said...

"Reform" is a code word for EXPANSION!

Anonymous said...

The so-called MS Cares program Crawford touts while he touts Foster's candidacy should be renamed as 'Hospital Association Cates about their Members'. It's nothing different than the plan that the hospital association tried to slide through the legislature to give them a no-bid multimate million dollar contract where they decided which members got the benefit of screwing the state, while the staff,benefited from further enrichment themselves.

They claimed it would be the local folks running the billion dollar Medicaid program when in fact it would have been managed by an out of state insurance group.

Everybody is for 'reforming' Medicaid but this program of the Hospital Association, and the hospitals including Crawford's own Andersons, and evidently bought into by Foster isn't true reform. Nothing more than the Association wants the 'gold' and then to follow the Golden Rule - He who has the gold makes the rules.

Come on Bill, you used to be better than that. This election season you have shown your metamorphosis as you have gotten older. Or maybe you have just reverted back to your old days and love affair of Ray Mabus.

Rod Knox said...

Mississippi's answer to dealing with the poor may remain "keep them struggling just to get by and hopefully they'll leave."

R. Foster's proposition sounds like a great plan to help the poor make incremental steps up from the bottom. And that would seem a great improvement over the long proven failure we currently have.

Anonymous said...

Foster inherited his money which does not make him a successful business man.

It makes him a member of the lucky sperm club.

Anonymous said...

"Expansion" is a code word for white supremacy!

Anonymous said...

Robert Foster thinks he's "connected" and is being used as a TOOL by the hospital association, spouting what sounds like helping people, but is really meant to enrich the richest in Mississippi.....his campaign will wither and die on the vine.

Anonymous said...

Rod Knocker - The 'poor' have been with us for 190 years in this state. You left us wondering how they people can 'leave'. Please continue.

Rod Knox said...

"they people," 2:40.

I don't know about "they people" but Mississippi is chasing away a lot of young people

but they were likely liberal voters and you'll be glad to see them leave. And for the past 150 years Mississippi has done everything possible to keep the poor in their place. Especially those whose ancestors were brought here in chains to make the state rich. They did and look where it got them.

Anonymous said...

As always, too many of you attack the messenger rather than specifically address the message.
And, none of you seem to be willing to have a logical discussion on how to solve the health care crisis in this country. Instead, you use political buzz words like " expansion" rather than contemplate that reform is possible and could actually reduce costs.
Some of you seem not to understand, it costs MORE to wait until someone is unnecessarily in a health crisis and can become eligible because they've lost their ability to work or pay what insurance doesn't cover. Try to consider the benefits of prevention and early intervention rather than to listen to those who profit from the status quo and who have deep pockets to " buy" political influence.

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