Note: This article is part of the ongoing Mississippi Health Care Crisis project. Learn more about the project by clicking here.
Hundreds of thousands of Mississippians fall into the so-called “coverage gap” — they work in low-wage jobs that don’t offer health insurance, but they also don’t qualify for traditional Medicaid coverage.
About 12% of Mississippians don’t have insurance, meaning they can’t afford basic health care, let alone pay for emergency care.
Hospitals, dozens of which are in financial crisis across the state, must provide care to uninsured patients and cover the costs themselves. It has forced several hospitals to close in recent years, and the state’s top health officials say at least a dozen more are at risk of closing.
questions and answers: What exactly is Medicaid expansion?
Multiple studies have shown that expanding Medicaid — lawmakers are opting for an expanded version of the federal health care program — would guarantee health care to at least 200,000 mostly working Mississippians who don’t currently have it.
But few state political leaders have rejected expansion for more than a decade, ignoring authoritative nonpartisan experts who have thoroughly studied the effects of expansion.
Below is an interactive county-by-county map showing Mississippi adults eligible for Medicaid when state leaders decided to expand.
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