An aunt of mine who resides in the state of Mississippi has been incapable of working due to illness/injuries sustained when she fell multiple times on her job. She continued working afterwards because she couldn’t afford not to, and, per her employer, the company does not offer Worker’s Compensation…

Continuing to work during this fragile stage exacerbated her injuries to the point where she is unable to work at all now. She cannot get medical treatment for serious injuries that she’s developed as a result of her falling that prevent her from working, due to lack of health insurance. She cannot acquire health insurance due to lack of approval for disability, for which an attorney filed on her behalf some time ago, and is awaiting issuance of a court date. With the exception of the few and far between medical providers that offer services for sliding scale fees or on the basis of income, the odds for treatment under these circumstances are minimal, and this, of course, is or should certainly be unacceptable in a civilized society…

Unfortunately, the state of Mississippi’s opting out of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Healthcare Act means that people like my aunt who are awaiting SSA determinations or are not currently receiving SSI disability, and those who do not satisfy other requirements, including having minor children, and are not 65 years or older to satisfy the age requirement for receipt of Medicare, do not qualify for any form of government health insurance. Individuals who are incapable of working due to health reasons and with pending applications for disability, and those who are unemployed and attending school and/or are demonstrably putting forth effort to acquire employment, and especially those who are victims of corporate harassment and/or employment blacklisting, should be extended Medicaid, however.

Preventive Care Prevents Expensive Emergencies

Providing health plans that would offer preventive care to these groups would also be prudent, whereas any health concerns that could develop into more serious complications would be caught and treated during routine physical examinations each year, as opposed to allowing the complications to develop into more serious conditions that would be more expensive to treat and that medical facilities are required by law (the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA)) to treat, whether or not a patient has health insurance, in emergency situations.

Health and/or Vocational Rehabilitation Participation Requirements

Rehabilitation participation requirements would include healthy eating requirements, particularly as it relates to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits (EBT cards could be programmed to prevent or limit purchase of certain foods that could exacerbate illness and obesity) and therapy/exercise that would further improve health conditions, and that would be reported by utilization of technology that would be disbursed by healthcare providers, in lieu of requirement for participants to report to physical therapists or fitness centers, considering that it might not be practical for indigent participants to report to such facilities everyday or any number of days that activity would be required.

The requirement and need for health coverage and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance would compel participation. Disbursement of technology like Fitbit or similar approved gadgets would provide motivation for participants as they’d be capable of viewing their progress from their cell phones and/or computers (The cost of the gadgets could be incrementally deducted from recipients’ SNAP benefits). Certain injuries (i.e. broken or sprained limbs, etc.) would create an exception to physical activity requirements, but should require clearance from a physician that would specify a period of time for recovery. Before participants begin any physical activities to satisfy participation requirements, they should gain clearance from a physician, and should seek immediate care for any complications.

Disbursement of any and all public benefits should be incentives for self-improvement. The proposed would subsequently save the government and private health insurers millions of dollars that they spend for treatment of illnesses that would be prevented or reversed.

Forms of Funding Recovery

There are a number of ways for the government to recover funding for Medicaid. The most logical method and the chief form of recovery would be for government-funded health insurance to be sold by the government, which, as I’ve previously pointed out, would pose no threat to private health insurance because government-funded or public health insurance is for individuals who cannot afford private health insurance, not those who can afford it, and would be sold to qualified recipients based on their income (those without income are not required to pay). Those who can afford private health insurance could, logically, be required to maintain it.

Another logical method of recovery of funds would be via modest* payroll deductions from the earnings of prior Medicaid recipients who are gainfully employed (*the amount of the deductions could be as modest as a few cents or a few dollars, which could really add up, considering that these amounts would be deducted from the pay of thousands, perhaps, millions of workers). Deducted amounts would be nominal here, considering that the noted individuals would also be required to pay regular health insurance premiums. Additional deductions should NOT be taken from individuals on fixed incomes (who struggle enough as it is), ONLY those who are employed.

Another method or alternative would be to take a modest COBRA deduction from the pay of all workers for continuation of public or private health coverage during any periods of unemployment or underemployment where any individual would not be capable of paying premiums.

COBRA deductions from employees’ pay could also fund unemployment payments to those who’d opt for and who’d pay for that additional coverage; or, as an option, COBRA unemployment payments could be a mandatory deduction that would also be based upon an employees’ pay.

The noted, and other measures, could provide sure funding for Medicaid expansion in Mississippi, for Governor Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee plan (with any warranted revisions), and for expanded Medicaid coverage in all of the states. It would also avail funding for government relief to medical facilities that have provided services to uninsured individuals who could not pay for treatment…

Hospital Insurance Coverage for Uninsured Patients

Hospitals should be capable of purchasing insurance via which they could recover significant costs for treatment of uninsured patients, which should significantly decrease with continued Medicaid expansion. The said coverage could, as an option, treat all patients of an insured medical facility as a single patient and pay off the outstanding debt of a specified number of patients or up to a specified amount each year…

How Hospitals Can Raise Funds to Provide Coverage to Patients in Need

One intelligible way for hospitals to recover costs of services to needy patients is through profits that they could earn from onsite pharmacies with parallel business hours and gift shops. Another way that hospitals can raise funds to cover costs is via donation solicitation on their websites, etc.

In Summation & Conclusion

Mississippi and all states should expand Medicaid to indigent residents, and there are a number of innovative methods of wholly funding it, including those herein prescribed and others that exemplary legislators would work effortlessly to find.

No state should be capable of or allowed to refuse federal funding for Medicaid expansion at the cost of public health and lives; for the health of citizens is vital to the health of economies and states.

Submitted Medicaid expansion plans that have not been approved should not be tossed aside. They should rather be subject to mandatory negotiation hearings where all relevant parties would work to iron out differences so that those plans can be perfected and approved.