Lawyers are pitching state attorneys general in 16 states with a radical idea: make the food industry pay for soaring obesity-related health care costs.
Mike Jones (not his real name) didn’t have a lot of confidence that the Affordable Care Act would do him much good. A self-employed truck driver, Jones, 61, had good reason to be skeptical: The health-insurance plans he had found previously were way out of his financial reach, so he had remained uninsured. If he got sick, he would go to a clinic where a sliding scale allowed him to pay what he could for health care. Nonetheless, he was willing to find out. So he gathered his tax documents and showed up at the desk of a marketplace navigator, someone trained to help people enroll in new plans under the ACA. He was in for a pleasant surprise. It turned out he qualified for a plan that (costs him) about $20,” a month, said Jarvis Dortch, one of Mississippi’s navigators. “He came back about two times, because he thought, ‘This can’t be right.’”
At a Senate Committee meeting last week, Tim Moore, the new chief executive officer of the Mississippi Hospital Association, was described as giving a “less than enthusiastic” endorsement of Medicaid expansion. Last year, the Hospital Association was one of the chief and most powerful proponents of the Mississippi Legislature expanding Medicaid to cover those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Mississippians in the so-called Medicaid Coverage Gap make up nearly forty-percent of the state’s uninsured population according to a new study. MPB’s Jeffrey Hess reports two online petitions to expand the program in Mississippi have received more than two-thousand signatures….
Let’s face it: Equity arguments rarely get any traction in Mississippi.
The plight of uninsured working Mississippians is clearly of little concern to our governor or our state legislators. It seems our policymakers have no problem sleeping at night over the decision to not expand eligibility for Medicaid, a policy that leaves many hard-working Mississippi families without health insurance. However, there is another demographic that may not be so easily thrown under the political bus for the sake of ideology — Mississippi’s local economies and small businesses.
A South Mississippi lawmaker is comparing Governor Phil Bryant’s refusal to accept billions of federal dollars to expand Medicaid to Governor Ross Barnett standing in a doorway at Ole Miss to block James Meredith. Representative David Baria was one of the speakers at the Dr. Martin Luther King Legislative Breakfast where the topic of discussion was healthcare.