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U.S. House Will Debate Repealing Health Insurance—What Could be the Impact on Mississippi

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 18 Jan 2011 08:39am | comments

The US House is expected to vote today on the repeal of the national Affordable Care Act. MPB's Lawayne Childrey examines what a repeal could mean for Mississippians.

Under the affordable Care Act, Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius says up to 1.3 million non elderly Mississippians with pre-existing health conditions are free from discrimination and can get the health coverage they need.

"That means your insurance company can no longer say no to your son just because he was born with a heart condition. In 2014 the protection will extend to all Americans including not just those who are currently locked out of the health insurance market but also all those who are afraid to switch jobs or start their own business because they can’t afford to lose their health coverage."

Experts predict that at least 137 thousand people in Mississippi are uninsured. Many of them are diagnosed with life threatening diseases like high blood pressure, cancer and heart disease. That's why Dr. Mario Azevedo Interim Dean of the College of Public Health Service at Jackson State University believes repealing the new healthcare law is not in Mississippi's best interest.

"If we don't take advantage of the new law then where are we going to find money to insure all these people? If the law is repealed then I think it’s going to be a disaster for this state because our per capita income is the lowest."

The scheduled house vote also has the attention of State Insurance Commissioner Mike Cheney.

"I'm a regulator and my job is to try to figure out how to best serve the citizens of this state and I think I can work either way to do that whether the bill is repealed or not."

Cheney does say however, that he believes the new law has its flaws.

"The big rub is how much money is coming out of Medicare that would be moved over to pay subsidies to folks that were under 65. And the problem is that people in Medicare have paid a 2.9% tax all of their adult life to fund Medicare and they're suddenly gone lose benefits which would mean there would be less people with providers and the older population would be left without proper medical care."

All of Mississippi's house delegation is expected to vote in favor of the repeal except for 2nd district Congressman Bennie Thompson. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.

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