Principles Above Politics: Medicaid Expansion

The Democratic leadership in the Mississippi House of Representatives made a decision during the 2013 Regular Legislative Session to vote against appropriating funds for the current Medicaid program twice. Additionally, they voted twice against reauthorizing the technical bill that gives guidelines for operating Medicaid. They did all of this under the guise of wanting to vote on expansion. I said on the day that they did this, and I will say it again today: this is misguided and irresponsible.

Because of the Democratic Leadership’s actions, we are faced with shutting down a program that provides health care for those who are elderly, blind, and too young to take care of themselves. To use these individuals as pawns is reckless. The Republicans in the House supported reauthorizing and funding the current program four times. …

No one can deny that we do have a health care problem in our country and state. With increasing health care costs, we need reform to ensure that health care is affordable. However simply having the government pick up the tab is not an option for me.

The discussion we need to have should focus on how we solve the health care dilemma with innovation and private sector involvement. Sure, the easiest thing would be for the government to only pay for people who don’t currently have insurance, but what does that say to those who don’t fall into the qualifying economic brackets? Our state has many hardworking folks who give it their best shot every day to do what is right. They do not want to add to the burden of the state. These people need help, too. Should we just add them on the government plan as well? Where does expansion stop? …

We are at a pivotal point in the history of our country. We can have a limited government that encourages innovation and economic prosperity from the private sector, which I support, or we can have a more robust government that says bureaucrats dictate the answers. We cannot have both.

I will continue to stand on the side of smaller government and lower taxes. I will also continue to stand on the side of entrepreneurs and hard-working Mississippians who want to stand on their own two feet. I encourage our citizens to work hard to find prosperity and not turn to the government to find it. Government cannot create prosperity; government can only help create an environment where people can succeed.