Bryant: Obama to blame for drop in state’s insured



By Bobby Harrison

Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON – Gov. Phil Bryant placed the blame squarely on President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act for Mississippi’s status as the only state where the number of people without health insurance has increased.

“If statistics show that the ill-conceived and so-called Affordable Care Act is resulting in higher rates of uninsured people in Mississippi, I’d say that’s yet another example of a broken promise from Barack Obama,” said the Republican governor when asked to comment on a study by WalletHub showing the percentage of uninsured in Mississippi has increased 3.34 percentage points to 21.46 percent of the total population.

Legislative Democrats countered that if the governor and others had led the effort to take advantage of the benefits and options offered by the ACA that the state, like the rest of the nation, would have seen a drop in the number of uninsured.

Only Texas, according to the study, has a higher rate of uninsured than Mississippi at 24.81 percent, but that rate actually has decreased 1.99 percentage points. Nationally, the rate of uninsured has dropped 3.66 points to 14.22 percent.

WalletHub did not have the pertinent data to determine if the percentage of uninsured residents has dropped in seven states – all with much lower rates of uninsured than Mississippi.

WalletHub, a social media company that does a litany of state rankings on various issues, used data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a national nonprofit that focuses on health issues, and from other sources to reach its conclusions.

Other recent studies, including polls conducted by Gallup, indicate that nationally the number of people with no health insurance has declined significantly.

Bryant and other state leaders in Mississippi have aggressively fought the enactment of the ACA, known as Obamacare. One of those leaders, Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves declined comment on the study showing an increase in Mississippi’s uninsured, saying he was not familiar with it.

Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn, also an outspoken ACA opponent, when asked whether it is a good thing for fewer people to have health insurance, said, “I don’t know if it is good or not. That is their call to make.” He said a 22-year-old, for example, might choose not to have health insurance.

Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, said that expanding Medicaid to cover primarily the working poor, as is allowed under the ACA, would help dramatically reduce the number of uninsured in the state. It is estimated that if Medicaid was expanded that as many as 300,000 Mississippians could gain health care coverage.

Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, said, “It is sad how many out there need health care who are not getting it. I hear from them every day. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for not taking the federal money to expand Medicaid.”

Bryant contends the Medicaid expansion would put an additional burden on the state’s budget. Other studies have suggested a positive economic impact to Medicaid that could reduce that burden.

The WalletHub study indicates that the states that expanded Medicaid saw the biggest drop in the rate of uninsured. About half the states, led by politicians opposing the ACA, opted not to expand Medicaid coverage.

Only three Southern states participated in the Medicaid expansion – Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia. All three experienced some of the biggest drops in the percentage of uninsured residents – 10.74 percent in West Virginia, 8.35 percent in Kentucky and 7.1 percent in Arkansas.

Another option to gain health care coverage under the ACA, Brown pointed out, is the health insurance exchange. Bryant also has opposed that.

“We have not spent any on outreach on the exchange,” Brown said. “If we did, we could have probably signed up another 10,000 there.”

Still, about 63,000 Mississippians did sign up on the federally run exchange.

But Bryant said without expanding Medicaid or aggressively publicizing the exchange, “We are already making tremendous strides in increasing access to health care and health care services.”

He cited the recent move to expand the University of Mississippi Medical School to produce more doctors and the development of “telehealth” to improve access for people in rural areas of the state as initiatives that will make a difference.

“And we continue to strengthen our overall business climate and attract more job opportunities for Mississippians and their families,” the governor said.

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  • kennelgirlbev

    And how many healthcare facilities have had to close and how many healthcare related job workers have been laid off and how many ancillary services have been affected to date and are projected to be affected?

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  • Sophlady

    Republican governors like Bryant and Rick Perry are willfully causing ill health and deaths of their constituents by refusing to encourage participation in the federal health care exchange and to expand Medicaid.

  • James O Coley

    Governor, stop thinking with your rear end and start thinking, you and your cronies are the reason Mississippi is last in everything. Don’t try to blame your anti everything attitude. on the President as that is what children do. Politics are not everything, people matter.

    • 1941641

      “Cronies” and Bryant has a world of them, right here in Tupelo. Bryants favorite crony is Tim Wildmon representing the “Dark Side” of Tupelo and America too, for that matter. Tim also has a right-wing column in the Journal. Today, Wildman was blasting a black gay AFL professional football player with the support of the editors of the Daily Journal. Now you know what radical conservatism is all about in Mississippi! Throw Bryant in that pile of stink and let him soak.

  • Jack Makokov

    So who’ll Philbert and the GOP clown car blame when FY 2015–when DHS payments are cut due to their ignorance and stupidity trolls around? And hospitals around the state laying off nurses and techs? Totally not his fault either.

  • barney fife

    Phundie Phil needs to be reminded that one goes there for telling lies as well as for stealing, according to his own book.

  • harryblah

    at least Bryant knows to not take any blame and point fingers at others for his own stupidity. the voters who elected this waste of skin should be the ones blamed.

    • Thile

      This guy got two-thirds of the vote in 2011. It’ll be interesting to see if Mississippi voters have wised up–hhahahahahahah nope he’ll probably win in a landslide

      • user

        There is a certain PSC who plans on running for governor down the road. He would win in a landslide against Bryant.

    • Haditupta

      hi I wonder if your district were gerry-mandered as we in NC are from 2010 census. It is not hopeless but harder.

  • joelgp

    Mississippi is ranked the lowest in nearly every social metrics.

    That’s because the GOP doesn’t care about improving the lives of average Americans.

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  • Adam

    “That is their call to make,” eh, Gunn? This woman working at KFC making $14,000 a year–that’s $291 a week (before taxes)–can’t AFFORD insurance and you know it, you gutless redneck.

  • Peter Blackson

    Bryant is such a clown. The last “reason” he gave for not expanding medicaid in the state was that he was afraid that the ACA would be repealed – now that the GOP has pretty much given up on repealing the law, he’s making up new reasons for his failure to help the uninsured in the state.

    As “harryblah” points out – this really isn’t Bryant’s fault – it’s the fault of the people who keep voting guys like him into office.


    New Flash! Obama to blame for solar flares, bovine flatulence, and the drought in Western States!

    Seriously, does Gov Bryant and others with his mindset do anything but come up with ways to blame others for issues and actions most under their own control?

  • Pingback: Mississippi GOP’er Phil Bryant Refuses to Expand Medicade In State, Then Blames Obama For Increase in Uninsured! | Americans Against the Tea Party()

  • Leota2

    Wow! Phil might be dumber than a bag of hair.
    And I’ll bet he isn’t even an iota ashamed of his idiocy.

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  • countrydawg

    Here are a few of those “tremendous strides” in statewide healthcare services Phil’s talking about:

    Singing River Health System closes primary care clinics in Pascagoula, D’Iberville, and Gautier.

    Trace Regional (Houston) will no longer offer ER services after 9PM.

    Montfort Jones Memorial Hospital (Kosiusko) laid off 30 nursing and lab tech positions. The senior care and outpatient services were also cut.

    Forrest Health System (Hattiesburg, counties thought the Pine Belt region) lost $22.4M in Medicare payments for FY 2014. The hospital system stands to lose $272M-$436M over the next six years if Philbert and friends continue their stupidity.

    Delta Regional (Greenville) lost $6.7M in Medicare/DSH payments in 2013. Numbers for 2014 have not yet been made available.

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  • lsam53

    Blame your Governor, Mississippi. He’s the one who had a childish hissy fit about expanding Medicaid.

  • Haditupta

    YAY!!! FINALLY The Ball is rolling! In North Carolina, Thom Tillis, Phil Berger and Gov Head-Splat McCrory are denying FREE healthcare to 500,000 of the working poor; while 2 rural, coastal hospitals (burdened with unpaid indigent care costs) might close soon if nothing intercedes…

    These three despicable curs are carbon copies of the Dickensian State ‘Leader’ ship MS suffers…I to accuse both your (white) State Legislators and mine of harboring Racial Hatred for My President! Anyway fellow fighters in MS, check this out: ProgressNC and DemocracyNC are my godsend. They’re HOT local progressive groups who’ve helped me get a lot of media on Medicaid Expansion last fall and I’m going again. Our NC NAACP and AA Black Caucus are still putting on ‘Moral Mondays’ in Raleigh, NC. I’m pissed and I hope MS is sufficiently so as well.
    I run hard and long on two thoughts:
    1) Does not ‘Every Person’s healthcare’ also mean: Our Health; Our Life and so OUR DEATH?
    2) NO ONE effectively points their middle finder at My President w/o a GD dress down from me by now? I’ve……….

  • Pingback: Rachel Maddow explains Phil Bryant’s sabotage of his own state’s healthcare system | Deep South Daily()