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Lawsuits Could Still Alter How Obamacare Functions In Mississippi

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 09 Jul 2014 03:48pm | comments
The legal fight over the future of the federal health care reform law could still have a big impact on Mississippians. That's according to conservative legal scholar Jonathan Adler from Case Western Reserve University. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports.
Adler, who spoke in Jackson yesterday, says the recent supreme court decision regarding the contraception mandate is just the beginning of a series of law suits that could dramatically alter how Obamacare functions in Mississippi. 
That ruling, according to Adler, could open the door for Mississippi companies with strongly held religious beliefs to stop including contraceptive coverage in their employee's insurance plans.
"For companies that satisfy those sorts of conditions, some may refuse to provide coverage for services that violate their religious beliefs. And employees will than have to get coverage elsewhere," Adler said.
But another lawsuit currently working its way through the courts could have an even bigger impact on the roughly 61-thousand Mississippians who purchased insurance through the health insurance exchange.
Mississippi's exchange is run by the federal Government, but Adler says the law only allows for subsidies...which bring down the cost of go to states that run their own exchange.
"The law that they enacted assumed that states would cooperate. That they misjudged does not allow them to say 'oops, lets pretend we enacted something else'. It could justify going back and amending the law. It could justify going back to congress. it doesn't justify saying 'lets pretend we enacted something different'. And that is basically what they are doing," Adler said.
That means big money in Mississippi, where more than 93-percent of people who enrolled on the exchange receive an insurance subsidy says Theresa Hannah with the Center For Mississippi Health Policy.
"The average subsidies was $4,370 per person. So that means we are looking at about 250-million dollars annually for federal subsidies for those people," Hannah said.
That number will only grow as more Mississippians enroll.
Hannah says it is unlikely that Mississippians would be able to afford the insurance without the subsidies, meaning many may have to drop coverage if the law suit succeeds.




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