JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – According to a 2021 analysis from the State Economist’s Office, Mississippi is missing out billions of dollars in federal funds each year Medicaid is not expanded.

The 2021 report was conducted to see how the state could economically benefit if Mississippi had expanded Medicare in 2022.

According to the report, expanding Medicare could insure more than 200,000 Mississippians. Advocates said this move is far overdue.

“If you’re going to say that Mississippi is budget focused, that we are focused on finances, we’re going to do what’s economically sound for this state, then you got to lean into opportunities to bring federal dollars into the state,” said Angela Grayson, the lead organizer for the Black Women Vote Coalition.

State economist Corey Miller said the state could also end up saving money through having more Mississippians insured.

“The rest of it comes from the savings the state would experience under Medicaid expansion. And by far, the biggest part of that would be on uncompensated care costs for hospitals that the state pays,” said Miller.

Millers said there are costs to the state, but they believe at least through the first five plus years or so, the state’s cost would be roughly offset by the savings it would incur from the Medicaid expansion.

According to the report, expanding Medicaid could also bring an average of more than 11,000 jobs a year from 2022 to 2027.

“There are shortages of health care personnel, doctors and nurses, in a number of parts of Mississippi right now, so you would have to find people to fill those potential jobs,” said Miller. “It doesn’t help someone to have insurance coverage if they don’t have somewhere to go.”

With Medicaid expansion being a long-avoided topic among Mississippi lawmakers, advocates hope something can get done in the upcoming session.

“We got to take the partisan politics out of this, and we got to make sure that people are not dying because of politics,” said Grayson.