Mississippi panel hears about uninsured working poor

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — A family physician tells lawmakers that expanding Medicaid would help thousands of “working poor” Mississippians who don’t receive health insurance coverage through their jobs.

Dr. Tim Alford of Kosciusko says this includes cashiers, clerks, truck drivers, pulpwood haulers and others.

Alford told a Senate panel Tuesday that uninsured people often go without primary care, and diseases such as diabetes escalate to dangerous levels.

Senators also heard from uninsured residents, including Jackson child care worker Rene Trevilion. The 42-year-old says she has had chronic, severe back pain since giving birth to her youngest child 12 years ago. She says she can’t afford therapy to improve her condition.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant says Mississippi can’t afford Medicaid expansion, even with the federal government paying most of the cost.