Jim Hood

TATE’S CLAIM: “Your premiums are going to go up…” if healthcare is expanded in Mississippi. [Tate Reeves, Republican primary debate, GOP Primary Debate, 7/23/19]

FACT: Marketplace premiums in state’s that accepted federal funding to increase health care access were 7 percent lower than in states that chose not to.[1]

A more recent study from the same researchers confirms this effect. Private insurance premiums on health care marketplaces were 11 percent lower in states that accepted federal funding than states that elected not do so.[2]

Former Arkansas surgeon general, Dr. Joe Thompson, touted the positive effect expansion had on premium costs in his state. Thompson says the 2013 decision to accept federal funding has introduced more competition into health insurance markets and helped control premium costs.[3] In 2014, the year after Arkansas expanded access to health care, 38 states had lower premiums; in 2018, that number dropped to six.[4] Additionally, Arkansas’s decision has allowed them to keep more rural hospitals open. Since 2010, only one rural hospital in Arkansas has closed, while Mississippi’s seen five shut their doors.[5]

Under Tate Reeves, and because of his refusal to accept federal dollars for health care, marketplace health care premiums have increased dramatically. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, average benchmark marketplace premiums in Mississippi increased 37.8% from 2014 to 2019.[6]

Instead of implementing solutions to rising health care costs, Tate Reeves has largely ignored the problem.

TATE’S CLAIM: Accepting federal funds to increase access to healthcare will cost Mississippi $220 million per year.

FACT: Tate is grossly inflating the state’s portion of Medicaid reform. According to his figure, Mississippi would need to have roughly 440,000 people sign up for the reformed Medicaid program. The state economist’s office estimated the state’s share of Medicaid reform costs at about $50 million to $150 million per year, depending on enrollment.[7] Additionally, Jim Hood would ensure Medicaid reform would cost taxpayers nothing by partnering with Mississippi hospitals and following the path laid forth by conservative states like Indiana under then-Governor Mike Pence.

TATE’S CLAIM: After Louisiana accepted federal funding to increase access to healthcare, a “recent study [showed] that somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 Louisiana residents every single month are getting their private insurance dropped and going onto the Medicaid program.” (GOP Primary Debate, 7/23/19)  

FACT: Tate’s citing a study that the Louisiana Secretary of Health said “presents incomplete data in a misleading way.”[8] In reality, the 3,000 to 5,000 people Tate refers to didn’t drop private insurance in favor of Medicaid, but recently lost employer-sponsored coverage due to job loss. Independent researchers at Louisiana State University found that relatively few people “dropped” private coverage to enroll in Medicaid.

TATE’S CLAIM: “Just so everyone knows, the Indiana plan was approved by the Obama administration. There was another state called the state of Utah that went to the Trump administration and the Trump administration would not approve their waivers for a similar plan. And so I think it’s bad public policy for the state of Mississippi.”  [Tate Reeves, GOP Primary Runoff Debate, 8/21/19]

FACT: Again, Tate Reeves misleads. The Trump administration denied Utah’s waiver because their waiver sought to expand access to health care for Utahans who earn only up to 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL), despite the administration previously announcing they would only approve waivers that hold to the income requirements mandated by the ACA (138% of the FPL). As with Judge Bill Waller’s plan, Jim Hood’s plan would allow Mississippians earning up to 138% of the FPL to receive health coverage—just as Vice President Mike Pence’s waiver allowed when he was governor of Indiana.

[1] Aditi Sen and Thomas DeLeire, The Effect of Medicaid Expansion on Marketplace Premiums (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, August 2016), https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/206761/McaidExpMktplcPrem.pdf

[2] Aditi Sen and Thomas DeLeire, “How Does Expansion Of Public Health Insurance Affect Risk Pools And Premiums In The Market For Private Health Insurance? Evidence From Medicaid And The Affordable Care Act Marketplaces,” Health Economics 27 (July 2018): 1877–1903, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hec.3809

[3] Emmerich, Wyatt, “Mississippi facing same issues as other states,” Columbus Dispatch, September 16, 2016.

[4] Ibid.

[5] https://www.shepscenter.unc.edu/programs-projects/rural-health/rural-hospital-closures/

[6] https://www.kff.org/health-reform/state-indicator/marketplace-average-benchmark-premiums/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

[7] Neal, Bob, “The Fiscal and Economic Impacts of Medicaid Expansion in Mississippi,” University Research Center, October 2012.

[8] Gee, Rebekah, “Louisiana’s Medicaid Expansion a Success,” Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2019.

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"Working together, Let's build
a better Mississippi for everyone"

-Attorney General Jim Hood