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Health Care Reform One Year Later: Mississippians Still Divided

By Daniel Cherry | Published 23 Mar 2011 12:18pm | comments
Health care reform supporters gather to celebrate the 1st anniversary

Much has changed with health care in Mississippi since the Affordable Care Act became law, but what hasn't changed are the ardent opinions of supporters and opponents. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports on what they have to say, and how the law affects Mississippi after it's first year.

Nationwide, supporters held events yesterday to commemorate the anniversary of health care reform. One event was at Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center in Jackson. Evan Thompson says he recently graduated from Mississippi State...without the law in place he'd be lacking a peace of mind.

"You used to have to be in college to stay on your parent's insurance, and now you can stay on it up until the age of 26. Which for me, I'm 24 so that's extremely helpful. I have two more years to not have to worry about getting private insurance, and I'm employed right now. I have a job full time, but it doesn't provide insurance."

Supporters say there are one point five million Mississippians who are now receiving benefits from the law. Dr. Lynda Assad is the director of the Jackson Hinds Health Center. She says preventative care visits increased this year...something she sees as beneficial in the future.

"If we don't pay for it what it's going to cost overall in trying to treat individuals who develop long-term complications of their diseases, it's going to cost the state much more in the long run than prevention will."

Not everyone is so happy. U.S. Congressman Greg Harper, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, and the Mississippi Republican Party all released statements opposing the law. Senator Terry Burton, a republican on the senate health committee says he supports reform...but with less government control and a lower price tag.

"We're estimating somewhere between 300 and 350 million dollars in additional state funding once the health care reform act is fully implemented. When you hear the word reform people tend to think that makes it better. Reform means change and this was change for the worse certainly not for the better."

Burton says the state is struggling to fund the budget and Mississippi can't afford unfunded mandates from the federal government. Daniel Cherry...MPB News. 

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Health care reform supporters gather to celebrate the 1st anniversary


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