Mississippi’s federal dependency would only increase under Medicaid expansion

By Steve Wilson
June 5, 2019

Mississippi is the nation’s most dependent state on federal funds and, if Louisiana is any guide, the addiction to federal money would only worsen if Medicaid was expanded.

Federal funds for Louisiana increased 41.63 percent between 2016, before Medicaid was expanded, and 2019.

In Mississippi’s newest $21 billion budget which goes into effect on July 1, 44.5 percent of revenue comes from federal sources. Only 27.26 percent came from the state general fund (state taxes such as income and sales) and 25.32 percent sourced from other funds, such as user fees.

Medicaid ($4.94 billion in federal matching funds) represented 52.63 percent of all federal funds appropriated for Mississippi. 

Medicaid covers 674,544 enrollees in Mississippi or about 22.6 percent of the state’s population.

Adding other social welfare programs, such as Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), bring that social welfare’s share to 68.57 percent of federal outlays for the state.

The percentage has changed little in the past four years, with an average of 44.37 percent of the state’s revenues coming from federal sources. Also not budging was the percentage represented by social welfare spending, which averaged 67.72 percent of federal money appropriated for Mississippi.

The Tax Foundation ranked Mississippi as the state most dependent on federal funds as a percentage of its revenues, with Louisiana second.

Expanding Medicaid as Louisiana did in 2016 would only worsen this dependence compared with the rest of the nation. 

So far, 36 states have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which is more commonly known as Obamacare. The ACA dictates that the federal government cover 90 percent of the costs for expanding eligibility to all individuals earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

In Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s final $28.2 billion budget in fiscal 2016, the Pelican State received 34.98 percent of its budget from federal funds. More than 62 percent of that was for Medicaid ($5.87 billion in federal funds alone).

By 2019, the state’s budget ballooned to $33.99 billion under Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, with 41.53 percent of all revenue coming from federal sources.

Medicaid spending ($9.81 billion in federal match) accounted for 69.51 percent of all federal revenue appropriated for Louisiana.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 465,871 adults had enrolled in Medicaid expansion as of May 8, 2019, which was a decrease from 505,503 as of April. The state could have as many as 1.7 million people or 37 percent of the state’s population enrolled in Medicaid.

According to a report by the Louisiana-based Pelican Institute, state officials expected 306,000 new enrollees when it expanded Medicaid eligibility.


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