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There is no doubt that quality health care is of utmost importance, but signing on for an enormous, expensive Medicaid expansion will not serve Mississippi well.

How much better off are we really if 1 in 3 can charge health care expenses to Medicaid but we cannot afford to fund our schools or make the infrastructure improvements that attract businesses and jobs?

Mississippi deserves more, and there are real solutions to improving health care without sacrificing our other core needs.

To start, each of us must assume personal responsibility for our own health and our own choices. Living a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a proper diet can help shrink Mississippi’s obesity rate and the chronic diseases such as diabetes that accompany it. Hazardous activities such as smoking erode our health, and as governor, I am leading the fight to end the multiconsequential epidemic of teen pregnancy in Mississippi.

At the core is job creation. We must continue working, as we did during the 2012 legislative session, to create an environment where businesses flourish so Mississippians can secure sound employment and fund their own health insurance.

Mississippi can and will do better. As governor, I will fight to protect our future — our education, our safety and our jobs — and that means that I will resist any effort to expand Medicaid in this state.

Gov. Phil Bryant is a Mississippi Republican.