OUR OPINION: Some of state’s poor left without insurance

Many Mississippians face daunting odds in navigating the uneven ground of the new health care landscape

Some people, even though they may work for the barest of wages, will not have access to insurance, a fact that is counter to what many Mississippians believed and hoped would be the outcome of health care insurance reform, with the Affordable Care Act sitting at the top of a heap of program changes.

In the most favorable and competitive market – Jackson – as correspondent Bobby Harrison reports, 20-somethings earning up to $25,000 annually can purchase the least expensive plan on the health care exchange for $8 per month, or $28 monthly for a family of four earning $50,000.

For a person living outside of the Jackson metro area, where there is less competition, the least expensive plan will cost the same individual $75 per month.

Obamacare would provide health care coverage to an estimated 30 million Americans who previously did not have access.

Mississippi, as most know , exercised its option – also known as a partisan stubborn streak – and refuses so far to participate in the Medicaid part of Obamacare, and it will cost the state billions in revenue and hundreds of thousands of individuals health coverages.

“I stand firm in my position that this law is bad for our nation, financially unsustainable and tramples our rights as citizens,” Bryant wrote in his budget narrative in November. “…Personal principles aside, we just cannot afford to expand the Medicaid program.”

Ed Sivak, executive director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center, said it is “a grossly inequitable outcome” to leave people below the poverty level without health insurance.

“It didn’t have to be this way,” Sivak said. “Mississippi’s leadership had the opportunity to expand access to health insurance for the vast majority of the state’s working families and it chose to leave low-wage workers out in the cold.”

The central question opponents of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act have not and cannot reasonably answer is why leaving thousands of Mississippians uninsured is a good thing.

Charity can’t afford it.

Hospitals can’t afford to write off the care.

Families, in the main, cannot assume the burden.

Mississippi’s working poor deserve better than a shrug of official shoulders.

  • charlie

    “I stand firm in my position that this law is bad for our nation, financially unsustainable and tramples our rights as citizens,” Bryant wrote in his budget narrative in November. “…Personal principles aside, we just cannot afford to expand the Medicaid program.”

    Repub translation: The more we keep the “poor” wink- wink- from getting, the more we can keep for ourselves.

  • Kevin

    Yes, the Affordable Health Care Act is a big disappointment and calling it “Obamacare” represents a bias since that’s a derogatory moniker attached to the law. What the United States needs–what the American people need–is a health care system modeled after the one they have in Britain, Canada, and Spain. Imagine all the money it would free up if Americans didn’t have to spend upward of 50 to 65% of their total income on health insurance. Then Americans could spend that money on other stuff–services, commodities, other insurance. It would boost the sluggish economy. And people better not respond to me by saying that the UK, Canada, and Spain have death squads and selective care because most American insurance companies already do that–it’s called networks of healthcare providers and these limit Americans’ choices about the care they receive. There is very little choice in the present system. You can either go with the insurance company and plan your employer provides, or seek out a high-priced and unaffordable plan of your own. That’s not much of a choice.

  • FrereJocques

    The Repugnicants have proved again what I have said here numerous times before: they care not a flying fig for poor people. By opting out of the Medicaid expansion, the Guv’nor has guaranteed that the really poor people will not see the benefits of Obamacare.

    It amazes me how poor people are snookered into voting for those who hurt them the most. Just what has your devotion to religious fundamentalism gotten you except poverty, sickness, and hunger? MS is at either the top or the bottom of every list of economic, health, and social indicators in the nation. By voting for the religious fundies to run the state, you are ensuring that the state maintains that status quo.

    In the next election cycle, remember this and vote for those who have YOUR best interest at heart–not themselves, and not the wealthy and Big Business owners.