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Study: Hundreds of Mississippians Die Lacking Insurance

By Daniel Cherry | Published 20 Jun 2012 07:41pm | comments

About nine Mississippians die each week because they don't have health insurance, according to a recent study. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Health Care Act could affect thousands of Mississippi residents.

The Jackson Medical Mall serves a high number of uninsured patients each year. Executive Director Primus Wheeler says that's why the dialysis clinic is the fastest growing part of the whole medical center.

"The dialysis clinic is pretty much the end of the road after you have either neglected your health care or didn't get the proper health care, and chronic diseases actually started to deteriorate the organs and consequently they end up in dialysis and lose limbs and other catastrophes."

A health care policy organization called Families USA, released a study saying more than 400 Mississippians died in 2010 because they lacked insurance. Ron Pollack, the Executive Director believes many who have preventable illnesses would live, if they were diagnosed early early enough.

"At the onset of an illness, they don't go to a doctor right away, figuring maybe the pain will go away, the illness will go away, and for some people, obviously, it doesn't go away and it gets worse."

Residents without insurance tend to ignore minor health issues and go without regular checkups. Ryan Kelly with the Mississippi Rural Health Association says, without insurance, many people just can't afford to see a doctor.

"If it's between eating and going to the doctor, obviously, someone would be insane to not choose eating as number one. It doesn't matter what your blood glucose is when you go to the doctor if you're not going to eat when you go home."

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of the Affordable Health Care Act soon. If allowed to stand, opponents say it will bloat medicaid rolls and put the country further in debt. 

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