Sunday, October 10, 2021

Bill Crawford: Medicaid expansion better than tax cuts to lift state

 Despite politicians’ promises over the years to make things better, Mississippi remains a bottom-ranked, low-income state with a high poverty rate. 

Mississippi’s low national rankings are old news, but here’s an update. shows Mississippi ranked 49th overall, just above Louisiana. More specifically, the state ranked 50th for health care, 49th for economy, 48th for infrastructure, 44th for opportunity, 43rd for education, 41st for fiscal stability, and 33rd for crime and corrections.

The economy ranking was further divided to show the state ranked 50th for employment, 49th for business environment, and 46th for growth.

Then there are those persistent stats showing Mississippi ranked 50th for per capita income and 1st for poverty rate. 

Economic success is usually matched with population growth. The opposite is true too. So, it’s no surprise Mississippi was one of only three states to show a population loss in the 2020 Census.

And, it should be no surprise that roughly 50% of Mississippi residents struggle to make ends meet. That’s according to a report released by United Way which combines the 19% poverty population with our 31% working poor population just above the poverty level.

Republicans control state government in Mississippi, so what is their agenda to make things better?

Gov. Tate Reeves wants to eliminate state income taxes. Hard to see how this would benefit people who hardly pay income taxes. House Speaker Philip Gunn wants to cut state income taxes but offset that by increasing sales and other taxes. Hard to see how that will benefit those with limited incomes. 

Their theory is these and other tax cuts will help grow the economy by attracting new industry and more jobs. There is little evidence tax cuts alone will do that, and the growth we have had occurred primarily in urban centers, leaving most rural counties behind. 

Indeed, with one exception there appear to be no major GOP leaders strategizing to make things better for the 50% of Mississippians struggling to make ends meet.

Then there is Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann. He caught public attention for his speech at the Neshoba County Fair when he said, “The time for simply saying ‘no’ to our options for working Mississippians has passed.” Earlier he said his goals “center around investing in Mississippi’s greatest asset: our people.” Presumably that includes the lower 50% as well as the upper 50% his GOP colleagues tend to focus on.

No doubt that is why he appears open to some form of Medicaid expansion. No economic development project would do more for rural counties and low-income Mississippians. A federal study showed expansion could create 21,700 new jobs and make hospitals and medical services once again community growth engines. Plus it would help alleviate the economic plight of many in the lower 50%. 

Yep, Medicaid expansion would do far more to lift us off the bottom of national rankings than income tax cuts.

And Medicaid expansion has never been more affordable with federal bonus dollars available to help cover costs. Also, the state economist projects that the economic impact would generate more than enough new revenue to cover long-term costs.

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is a sin” – James 4:17.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.


It's Time to Expand Medicaid said...

He makes some good points that are worthy of serious consideration.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile soft drinks, potato chips, and candy remain SNAP eligible in the poorest and fattest state in the union. We would not need as much healthcare funding if we were not literally bankrolling most of the preventable chronic conditions prevalent in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

With Medicaid expansion should be strong and enforced restrictions on what may be purchased with food stamps, i.e. cut out all of the junk/unhealthy/fattening food.

These 300+ pound morbidly obese Mississippians shouldn't be buying junk food on the dole.

Anonymous said...

@11:48a- I agree 100%!

Also, no amount of money will change our placement in the country.

We have the largest percentage of fat, lazy, uneducated people because folks out there make so many excuses for the ignorance! What’s worse is these folks don’t CARE enough to change their situation… they think someone else should fix it for them. Imagine how different MS would look if the churches hadn’t been heavy pimping welfare back in the 80’s and 90’s.

Anonymous said...

11:48 BASED. Damn.

Anonymous said...

Since the author feels so strongly, he should donate all of his earnings to irresponsible fat people for their medical care. Better him than me.

Anonymous said...

This conservative believes in expansion. It would also help small businesses hire employees. I do agree that junk food should be eliminated from the SNAP program, but I don’t know if our legislature can do that. The soft drink and Big Food conglomerates probably have lobbyists that would prevent it.

Anonymous said...

Things will only get worse here.

Eventually, the legislature will have a leftist majority. The walls will cave in shortly afterward.

We're on borrowed time.

Anonymous said...

listen here bigots
Corn is a USDA subsidized crop so processed Flaming Hot Cheetos and Arizona Watermelon Tea sweetened with Corn Syrup definitely belong as SNAP approved foods.
Don’t like it? Stop paying farmers to grow enormous quantities of GMO corn.

Anonymous said...

Replacing the revenue created by income tax by raising the sales tax will hurt the poorest Mississippians who do not make enough to pay income tax.

Anonymous said...

“Despite politicians’ promises over the years to make things better, Mississippi remains a bottom-ranked, low-income state with a high poverty rate.”

Here is the problem.

Politicians can’t make things better. People can. Stop eating junk food. Stop smoking. Stop having bastard children. Stop making bad decisions.

Mississippi has no reason to expand Medicaid until people will start making better decisions.

Lots of loitering around gas stations in the Delta ain’t getting it done.

To quote Dean Wormer, “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life”.

Anonymous said...

12:12 Educated well-informed people tend to eat healthier foods. That is a national trend well documented. The poor and less educated tend to eat cheap junk food sources of plentiful fat and sugar. Mississippi has always been the epicenter of ignorance and structural educational inequality. Why shouldn't you expect a large percentage of her people to be obese and unhealthy. You really think the obesity will be fixed BEFORE the three hundred+ year old education gap? DUH

Anonymous said...

4:44- “ structural educational inequality”

You mean you actually should have a competent parent at home and actually have to show up for class?

Your post is ignorant. Just show up to school, pay attention (just a bit) and finish 12th grade.

If you do that alone, without committing crimes or having kids, you life should turn out alright.

“structural educational inequality” is a pathetic term used to make excuses.

Most everyone does pretty well if they just participate and give half an effort.

Stop making excuses.

Anonymous said...

6:09 lives in a glass house. We are so very pro life, it doesn’t matter if they are born in poverty, with learning disabilities or thing else your on your own once you leave the womb.

Anonymous said...

You know, there is nothing wrong with Crawford’s comments, per se. He is entitled to his opinion, and while he is light on the potential negative state fiscal impact, he makes valid points about potential benefits to many. But, it irritates me that not once in his many writings on this subject does he simply give his readers a “FAIR WARNING” by disclosing that he serves on the board of directors of a hospital system which would benefit immensely by Medicaid expansion. It seems in the interest of basic intellectual honesty that he should give his readers the modest disclaimer to the effect that his employer stands to receive tens of millions if his opinions prevail. He never does, though, and that is irritating.

Better Than Ever said...

@4:44 Yup, 100% It took decades to get here... going to take even longer to get out.

And for those that decry the left/blue states... please explain why the bulk of the US GDP is generated by the blue states.

Please explain why MS is experiencing a net OUTFLOW of population. The poor aren't leaving; the educated and capable are calling it quits on this failed state. I can't blame them.

MS continues to remain on bottom for all important indicators: income, life expectancy, infant mortality, education, healthcare, etc. So perhaps the things which we have been doing are 100% wrong. Proof being in the pudding and all, you know.

Anonymous said...

Solutions are far far away and we all know why.

Anonymous said...

43rd in Education? Ha! What a laugh. If only....that high of a number is only because of the bogus "achievement" numbers being reported. Don't believe it? Ask any of the teachers that have quit in less than 5 years, and who have no intention of staying in an "educational" system that does anything but. It's a babysitting social services system...not educational....ask anyone.

Wow said...

2:57 has a good point.

No one wants to look at the role of welfare for farmers, specifically corn and how it contributes to our obesity problem in the USA.

High fructose corn syrup.

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