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Conservatives’ stance on Medicaid applauded

 Dear Editor:

    I had watched the public debate over Medicaid expansion in Mississippi with intense interest during the 2013 regular session of the Mississippi Legislature.

     The state of Mississippi does not have any ability to fund an increase in Medicaid care for any extended timeframe. This unfortunate fact was well recognized by the conservative members of the legislature as well as Gov. Phil Bryant.

     On the other side of the aisle sat the social welfare crowd who always thinks everybody is entitled to everything being furnished to them by the government even if they don’t attempt to furnish those services to themselves by productively contributing to society.

     Before the start of the special session to address this issue, I was shocked to find out that 16 conservative Republican legislators had been targeted with a completely untrue political attack ad in multiple newspapers around the state.

     The ad claimed that legislators “get free health insurance at taxpayer’s expense.” Health care coverage is available to state employees, including legislators, on a voluntary basis and all may decide to take the insurance and the premiums or decline the insurance and make other arrangements for their insurance.

     Nothing is free about the program, it just mimics the insurance situation in private industry. The ad further claimed that the legislators “voted for that free insurance” which is also completely untrue.

     I investigated the source of these ads, which directed me to www.accessms.org.

     That website is maintained by Mississippi Health Care Access, which is a non-profit Mississippi corporation based in Jackson. The three incorporators are Alton Cobb, Alvin Hoover and Warren Yoder.

     Tracking Mr. Hoover brought me to his listed address at 427 Highway 51 N., Brookhaven, Miss.

     Looking further, I found that to be King’s Daughters Medical Center in Brookhaven. When I asked about Mr. Hoover’s position at the hospital, I was told he was the chief executive officer of the hospital corporation.

     I find it very unethical for a CEO of a non-profit hospital to become involved in running false political ads against legislators that are trying to balance the state budget.

     Since the ads were clearly directed toward making it more difficult for those legislators to get re-elected, it simply amounts to electioneering. Non-profit corporations are not allowed to enter into electioneering and neither are individuals allowed to do that on behalf of a client unless they are registered with the Secretary of State as a lobbyist.

     The group listed on the ad as paying for the ad is Mississippians for Health Care Equality and checking at Mississippi Secretary of State that group does not seem to exist. I, for one, don’t think that Mr. Hoover should be doing this type of thing while working at King’s Daughters, and I hope the hospital would agree and relieve him of his position.

     We are at a crossroads in this country, the choices are plain to see. We can choose to continue as a republic, or we may fall into a social welfare state where the state controls each and every thing in each and every citizen’s life.

     I think the welfare state is completely out of control myself. We have more people on government assistance then we have people working to provide for themselves and to provide for all the people on government assistance.

     It’s time to change course and stop expanding social welfare programs while we still have the chance to do that.

Robert P. Riggs, P.E.

Wesson