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.