Sunday, November 27, 2022

Bill Crawford: Hospital Closures Now, Universities Next?

 “What’s your plan: to watch Rome burn and to let hospitals close?” a Louisiana healthcare expert asked regarding Mississippi’s hospital crisis. 

Think about that. State leaders have sat on their hands and watched the state’s hospital crisis build for more than a decade. As the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal wrote recently, “Nothing has had a larger impact than the loss of federal dollars hospitals use to offset losses from care provided to uninsured patients. That money stared shrinking more than a decade ago with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. It was to be offset by expanding Medicaid coverage to the working poor.” 

Mississippi leaders didn’t. And they came up with no alternative plan. 

Our leaders seem to have trouble looking ahead, much less effectively planning ahead. For over two decades they have watched PERS finances deteriorate and prison problems mount. More recently, brain drain and rural population loss trends seemed to catch them by surprise.

Now comes another potential crisis. “The population of college-age Americans is about to crash,” reports an article in “It will change higher education forever.”

The problem arises from declining birth rates in America. “The birth rate kept dropping, and we are now starting to see the consequences on campuses everywhere,” said the Vox article. “Classes will shrink, year after year, for most of the next two decades. People in the higher education industry call it ‘the enrollment cliff.’”

Mississippi is not exempt from this demographic trend. Live births have declined by over 18% since 2000. In-state resident enrollment in our universities has now begun to drop. From 2013 to 2021, IHL in-state enrollment fell 14%. While, that was partially offset by out-of-state student increases, overall enrollment is trending down. Note, out-of-state enrollment now accounts for one-third of IHL enrollment.

Mississippi Valley State University announced this month that its enrollment had fallen 9% to its lowest level in decades. “The current enrollment challenges are happening nationally, and as the numbers showed for our eight public institutions here in Mississippi, seven experienced an enrollment decline this fall,” MVSU President Jerryl Briggs told the Greenwood Commonwealth. IHL system enrollment was down 1% this year. It has fallen each year since 2016 for a cumulative decline of 8%. 

Notably, from 2016 to 2021 IHL freshman enrollment dropped 23%.

Already having to regularly increase tuition and fees due to declining state support, IHL universities will have trouble dealing with long-term enrollment decreases. While not a crisis yet, except at The Valley, it could become one if the trends of enrollment drops and state support continue. Declining birth rates predict the enrollment trend will.

So, what is the state’s forward looking plan to deal with this? Without one, my old favorite issue will likely raise its head – closing and merging institutions. Since the “let ‘em burn” approach is in vogue for hospitals, universities need to get ready.

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” – 1 Corinthians 10:12.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.


Anonymous said...

Mississippi has too many universities. Need to shut down a couple and merged another.

Don Drane said...

Crawford must live in a bird cage lined with Clarion Ledger paper.

First, there is not a 'hospital crisis'. There's a crisis of work ethic, the desire of 80% of us trying to get disability and the government conditioning us to believe it will satisfy our every want and need. Hospitals, like small businesses, are simply collateral damage.

Secondly, declining enrollment due to age dynamics will not be what closes down colleges. That will be caused by the surge of on-line diplomas, (hopefully) many more young people realizing they don't need a college degree and the growing number satisfied to languish at the government tit.

Anonymous said...

State n Ole Miss ...and others...are swimming in endowment money. Yet, the college board raises tuition EVERY year. THEN, the universities encourage students students to go into debt to get less than useful degrees.

Anonymous said...

While we're at it, there are too many community colleges too - looks like 14 altogether, the vast majority of which are losing enrollment.

Anonymous said...

You must have forgotten… everything is a crisis to liberals
Did you see the California university public health official she was claiming last week that we should all cancel thanksgiving and Christmas permanently and move a holiday to the spring time to prevent flu and other pathogens we are more vulnerable to in cold months!!! These people are completely stupid and all seem to not have a background in American or western culture so maybe there trying to ruin our culture

Anonymous said...

Some of you keep skipping past good governance being the key.

The consolidation of State supported universities and hospital systems worked well in other States.
The quickest benefit is economy of scale ( for the clueless, you save more when you can buy in bulk.
You pay more for your one car than the dealership who buys more cars does.
Consolidated hospitals can buy supplies more cheaply.
All State agencies should have compatible systems of communication.
But, the local " Dukes" want to keep control of and profit from their fiefdoms.Their loyalities may be to different " Princes who aspire to a place in court or a crown, but the systematic fleecing of those who believe they'll be rewarded for " fealty" is the same.
Those of you defending the system as it is are the foolish fiefs. You are expendable to the Dukes.

ANYTHING for his poultry friends said...

(Meanwhile ... having read Crawford's latest ... Sid Salter cogitates how he can deftly correlate this new fear monger into his own column indirectly supporting the offspring of illegal immigrants as a solution to the declining college enrollment 'problem'.)

Anonymous said...

10:14 Colleges have to raise tuition every year so they can keep giving football coaches astronomical raises.

Anonymous said...

The PERS system could go bankrupt today and no retiree would ever know it.
Because the legislature (themselves future PERS recipients) would make sure the checks would keep coming.
By raising every tax in the state to whatever was necessary to raise the money.

Anonymous said...

Crawford makes a case for NOT expanding Medicaid. Not my problem if your economic blinkers don't allow you to see it.

Anonymous said...

Fallacy Alert.

Bill Crawford with another contagion theory argument.

Anonymous said...

He does't factor in the possibility of students going to community colleges or technical schools.

Fewer touchy-feely/woke (useless) majors such as Social Justice, Race Studies, etc. would be a positive.

Anonymous said...

Now if I could figure out how to use Crawfords bloviating rhetoric as bird cage liners, just like the C-L.

Anonymous said...

The IHL and legislative leadership has no problem with a shakeout in higher education. Over time the anointed three universities have built up enough facilities and programs of study to maintain their edge in the marketplace. The others were built to fail in the first place. They will ultimately die on the vine and their better students will end up at the three, the others will simply fade into oblivion. No need to fund non-existent enrollments. There is a plan, an UNSPOKEN plan.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi only needs three state universities. One in the north, one in the middle, and one in the south. It would be efficient and they would be formidable. It makes too much sense.

Anonymous said...

FYI buying in bulk at a lower unit price is not economy of scale, but it is a benefit of economy of scale.

They will teach you that in an economics course at one of those universities.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I am thankful you were not elected to congress.

Anonymous said...

10:55 - When you have a minute or two, tell us of ANY taxes that have been raised to fund PERS or anything else. But don't spend too much time on it since you won't find an example. Give it the old college try though.

Anonymous said...

Socialism is great til you run out of other people’s money. We are there.

Anonymous said...

1:56, I’ll take a stab at it, about 73% that goes to PERS retirees comes from Mississstate income taxes. The other 27% comes from PERS employees retirement contributions. So essentially all PERS benefits are a direct result of state income tax receipts. But of course all PERS employees and retirees were paid their entire career by Mississippi tax contributions. Don’t let facts get in the way of your false premises though.

Anonymous said...

Another fact: Community colleges are already "deconstructing" their organizations to basically be 13th grade. Fully ONE THIRD of some community colleges are "dual credit" students still in high school.

Strange how no one in the legislature has connected the dots to why hundreds of millions of property taxes meant for K-12 are being co-mingled with higher ed budgets.

The crash is coming.

Anonymous said...

The incoming freshman class at Ole Miss is the largest in school history

Anonymous said...

November 27, 2022 at 10:54 AM, maybe you should look into that a little more. You may find that the universities don't pay those crazy salaries.

Anonymous said...

2:21, you are just so far off base on how this works I can't even start.

Anonymous said...

Never let a crisis go to waste, even when a lib has to invent the crisis.

Anonymous said...

3:12, I’ll play, please tell me what percentage of PERS retirement pensions are paid out of current State employees PERS contributions?

Anonymous said...

2:39 Ole Miss will be the beneficiary not the victim. Bank on it.

Anonymous said...

And mean while we're being suckered into a governor that wants to cut, cut, cut taxes to zero! Someone's pulling under the tail and doesn't understand why the pig is squealing. Get real! The governor is as bad as the mayor of Jackson. Different strokes and all...

Anonymous said...

2:21 Among things that have already pointed out to reveal your ignorance, you ignore the fact that the poster said tax INCREASES fund PERS. That's false. You have zero working knowledge of how PERS is funded. You've been privy to conversations down to the barber shop while discussing how to solve world problems. Or was it the senior group at McDonalds?

I retired with 25 and not a damned dime of my salary came from taxpayers or Mississippi funds. The entire agency was funded with federal funds. The laws regarding PERS retirement are what they are. If you don't like that, take it up with your representative and senator. But, first, spend minimal time educating yourself.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi ranks 49th for Educational Attainment and 44th for Quality of Education.

Mississippi has the third-lowest share of high school diploma holders at 84.5%, the second-lowest share of Bachelor's degree holders, and the fifth-lowest share of both people with associate's degrees or college experience and graduate degree holders.

And Bubba the Brain Trust's answer is to close universities? SMH.

"Mah taxes is too high cuz the Mexicans took mah job and they are all lazy lack GubMint wurkers."

Anonymous said...

1:56 I know for a fact that property millage was increased in the old days to support employers’ contributions to maintain PERS plan solvency. Now, since ‘84 I believe, that the lone standing plans have all been converted to a unified State PERS (with transferability between agencies allowed) I suspect that local governments are not liable for millage support of the current system BUT they are for the bygone plans of the 80’s and prior that are only paying out, no new employee contributors.

Anonymous said...

100% of what goes in to PERS would be money paid to participants if PERS did not exist. And none of this has anything to do with college enrollment falling.

Anonymous said...

5:37, the fact that you do t know how your PERS pension is funded and are defending drawing a public pension after the grand total of 25 years of service says all we need to know. Enjoy your 13th check, Merry Christmas.

Kingfish said...

Where do federal funds come from?

Anonymous said...

November 27 at 9:25. The answer to your question: Helicopters.

Anonymous said...


"The incoming freshman class at Ole Miss is the largest in school history."

That's because their "feeder" community college in DeSoto County has been force feeding those "incoming freshmen" with massive amounts of dual credits from high school and transfer through their feeder program, where almost everyone is passed in order to create those higher fact they're the highest in the state, and that's why. Look it up. It might just bankrupt that community college due to such short sightedness.

Anonymous said...

Sell the unsuspecting something that they pay for with other people's money.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi's tax revenue is mostly from the Federal government. Most Federal dollars are as follows: 41% come individual taxes and New York and California contribute the far largest part of that.
They are not coming from Elon Musk who pays only 1% in individual income tax and if we ever see Trumps, it's probably that he gets money back. Nor do they come from corporate taxes that are only 5.1% . Property taxes are the next lowest at 11.9%
Social Insurance taxes are 24.8%. Then consumption taxes are 16.9%.
Mississippi's taxes come from sales tax and property tax.
Yet, here we are wildly in support of the party that cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans and gave them deductions that only benefitted the richest and made that tiny tax break you enjoyed a joke on YOU!
To say GOP tax "reform" was disproportionate is an understatement.
Tax reform would be corporate executives and businesses not being able to "own residences and vehicles for starters or vacation homes that aren't available also to all employees for use.
The truth is that if all of us had no rent or mortgage, no health insurance or life insurance or home owners insurance or car payments to pay, we'd all be wealthy!
Indeed, being a junior college President here is great (unless it's changed),you get a home and vehicle and all insurance and food from the cafeteria and no cost for entertaining in your home and a salary in 6 figures to pocket. Your teachers are lucky to get the regional low end teacher's pay.
And, you wonder why most of the nation's wealth is in 2% of the pockets.
Let's try a flat tax and see how it goes.
Or we could keep letting our current billionaires squander what they earn rather than making their wealth grow and the communities they inhabit prosper. Or,giving it to pet projects in poor countries while the poor in our country sicken and die.
Convenient ethics is an oxymoron.

Anonymous said...

@5:37 PM penned: "I retired with 25 and not a damned dime of my salary came from taxpayers or Mississippi funds. The entire agency was funded with federal funds."

Is that the federal funds that grow on trees, vs. the funds that come from "taxpayers?"

Or are they the federal funds that The Fed has been printing and thus increasing the national debt?

Anonymous said...

6:57 PM - that's bullshit. You don't 'know that for a fact' because it's NOT a fact. In the 'OLD DAYS' the state retirement system was rated the most sound in the nation.

Fuck you and your selective indignation radar Kingfish. You allow these ignorant cherpies to post nonsense but axe replies in rebuttal. You love fake news.

Zero state taxes, as claimed originally, have EVER been implemented or raised to support or bail PERS. That's a damned lie, but Kingfish loves ignorance as long as PERS is the subject.

Don Drane said...

Kingfish said...
Where do federal funds come from? November 27, 2022 at 9:25 PM

Kingfish: Let me try to help answer your question without you screaming at me or belittling me.

First, I suggest you research F.U.T.A. taxing. As with S.U.T.A. taxing by states, FUTA is taxed at the federal level (the Federal government is simply a taxing and dispensing authority). F.U.T.A. is the acronym for the Federal Unemployment Tax Act. F.U.T.A. is collected by the feds, deposited at that level and dispensed at that live, just as taxes are with F.I.C.A. As an aside, thank GOD the federal government has not found a way to siphon off and spend F.U.T.A. taxes.

You asked, 'where do the federal funds come from?'. Like you and several posters here seem to not understand, the taxes collected (in the present discussion case) are charged to and collected from employers, not individual taxpayers and certainly not as a result of increases of any taxes on private citizens.

FUTA tax act funds are used for several purposes related to unemployment; two of those being the paying of benefits to eligible claimants and paying for the administration of programs that determine eligibility, conduct investigations and that are involved in efforts to operate a nationwide labor exchange in the 50 states. Whether you or others believe these programs and related efforts are effective or should even exist is beside the point. They exist as a matter of federal law.

No citizen is taxed in any manner for the operation of any state agency that is fully funded for these purposes. I'm not aware of which agencies, if any, are partially funded through F.U.T.A. for these purposes, but there may be some.

I hope this answers your confusion over 'where to federal funds come from?'

Anonymous said...

In the old days the Ponzi wasn't yet upside down.

Anonymous said...

6:05 - Turn your cap around. A Ponzi is a scheme deliberately crafted to eventually benefit the collector of monies while dispensing moderate returns to investors. I know you think it's cute to attach the term wherever you get the chance.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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