BILL MINOR: None of Obamacare’s detractors stand down



Those who were pronouncing Obamacare a virtual corpse on thin life support, waiting to be buried, are suddenly mighty quiet.

They realized from the 7.2 million number posted March 31, when the first signup period ended to get health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), they had been trounced. What’s more, the message writ large was the health care reform act is here to stay.

Republican leadership in Mississippi still seems content to ignore what’s happening on the health care reform front.

We’ll see before too long. Remember, the Supreme Court, while weakening the act in other ways, upheld the “individual mandate” requiring everyone to have health care coverage that meets certain standards. The court didn’t exempt Mississippi.

But the court on the assumption that states were responsible enough to broaden their Medicaid program to cover their working poor – generously subsidized by federal funds under ACA – left Medicaid expansion a state option.

Republican governors, seeing a way to scuttle Obamacare, lined up to reject expanding their Medicaid program. Mississippi’s Phil Bryant, of course, was in the front rank. Bryant and his GOP cohorts, its obvious to thousands of religious leaders and medical professionals in Mississippi, while having failed in their goal to scuttle President Obama’s signature law, have succeeded only in denying organized health care coverage to 300,000 of the state’s working poor.

A Gallup poll released April 7 showed the rate of uninsured Americans nationally – the primary target of the health care reform law when it was enacted in 2010 – has been reduced from a high of 18 percent in mid-2013 to a new low of 14.5 percent in March.

When the March 31 report from the Obama administration showed that the program had topped its 7 million goal, skeptics such as Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and his crew were calling the numbers “fraud” so their audience would still believe they were right to predict Obamacare would fail.

While Mississippi’s Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, a Republican, had advocated having a state-run insurance exchange through which health insurance companies could offer citizens a menu of policy choices, Bryant in a last-minute move nixed Chaney’s proposal.

Because the state is seriously medically underserved, only two insurance carriers offered policies in the exchange. Neither was Blue Cross-Blue Shield which is the dominant carrier in the state. While the final figure on how many Mississippians got coverage by March 31 have not been released, the number is expected to be in the range of 36,000 to 40,000, putting the state among the lowest in the nation.

On the eve of the deadline, two of the state’s Republican delegation in Congress – Sen. Roger Wicker and Rep. Gregg Harper – were still predicting Obamacare’s disaster in interviews on Mississippi Public Radio. It is notable that both Wicker and Harper get highly subsidized government sponsored medical coverage for both themselves and their families. How about the “little” people back home who are some of the nation’s poorest and most unhealthy?

Syndicated columnist Bill Minor has covered Mississippi politics since 1947. Contact him through Ed Inman at

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  • Ells Worth

    Why does the Daily Journal keep running this racist, republican hating old has been. Minor is a sick old man and the daily Journal looks awful when Minor appears.

    • FrereJocques

      How about addressing the issue raised in the article? Why won’t the
      Guv’nor and his cohorts in the Legislature return home from whatever
      planet they’ve been living on and do the right thing for the people of
      MS, whom they are supposed to be serving?

      • Cletus Snow

        Our governor, senators and representatives are doing what the people of Mississippi elected them to do, and we don’t want Obamacare, nor Obama for that matter. This is a conservative state. Surprising one has to remind you of that.

        • barney fife

          Remaining a conservative state has served Mississippi oh so well.
          Reform our marijuana laws.

          • Cletus Snow

            Mississippi was a liberal state from Reconstruction until the early nineties, when Kirk Fordice was elected as the first Republican governor since Reconstruction. A little less weed, and a little more studying and you might have known that.

          • countrydawg

            The current state leadership at all levels seek to bring the good ol’ days of Reconstruction back. Good times.

          • TWBDB

            You cannot possibly be serious!!!! Did you actually grow up in MS ? Ross Barnett was a Democrat and a segregationist : what part of segregationist is liberal ?

          • TWBDB

            I’m still absolutely floored by this statement. What moron taught you that MS has ever been anything but a conservative state, in fact one of, if not the most conservative state in the US.

        • FrereJocques

          So I guess the people have chosen to elect people who deliberately keep MS in the Dark Ages, at the bottom (or top) of all lists of the best or worst States in the nation. Conservative = Backwards. Surprising one has to remind you of that.

          Your blanket statement that nobody wants Obamacare is not accurate or provable. From the tone of your post, it’s obvious that YOU don’t. But you don’t speak for everybody.

        • Thile

          Cletus, could you explain how the citizens of Mississippi have benefitted from being a conservative state?

  • Mikoma

    Bill, the 7.2 million number posted March 31 is bogus and you know it. No doubt there are a few positive features of this massive infliction on the American people, but it will either collapse under its own weight or undergo a massive overhaul at some future date, whether by this pathetically inept administration (and I honestly don’t think its capable of handling such a transformation) or by the administration that follows it. When the final product is rolled out you will see no resemblance to it and this nightmare called Obamacare.

    • FrereJocques

      Any new Government program this massive requires tweaks and adjustments. Thus it has ever been. Nobody claims the ACA is perfect in its first iteration.

      What I do remember is that when the ACA was moving through Congress, the Repugnicants did everything in their power to sabotage the legislation, with the STATED GOAL of causing it to fail. How much better would the bill have been if they had WORKED TO IMPROVE IT, instead of working to further the aims of their own Party and improve their odds of being re-elected? Also remember, the Repugnicants have NEVER put forward their own comprehensive health care plan. They sat on their hands and did NOTHING for two decades.

      Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, once said, “There are lies, there are damn lies, and then there are statistics.” As far as the number of enrollees, the goal of the ACA was to get more people to sign up for health insurance. Many people, such as yourself, are claiming that the numbers are false. That’s because you are looking at the part of the picture you WANT to see, and not the FULL picture. The total number of people without health insurance has fallen drastically. Whether they signed up for Obamacare is not that important. A report put out by the Rand corporation, which is being misquoted by many, states that many people obtained their health insurance through their employer’s health care plan. A relatively small number had their private plans cancelled due to non-compliance with new government standards. And many people signed up for Medicaid.

      Many good things have come about because of the ACA. But those are minimized or totally ignored by those who are against Obamacare. Even though they themselves are benefiting from those good things.

      • 1941641

        Great response, Frere!

        Liberal Tupelo MS Blog

    • 1941641

      I’d say it’s past time right now for you to be proving the 7.2 million is some bogus number. Present the evidence you have or drop to your knees an pray loudly to your God for forgiveness! If there is anyone commenting here today that is in the category “Bogus” it’s you and Ells Worthless!!

    • 1941641

      Fifty times, so far, the Republicans have tried to repeal Obama Care, 50 times they have failed. The cost of those attempted repeals have added up to a considerable amount of money. When will the anti-Obama Care crowd begin to chip in the money that it has cost the taxpayers?

  • charlie

    Since when did a repub give a rat’s hind end about the poor?