For 58-year-old Meridian resident George Blanks Jr changing the U.S. health care system and creating a universal health care program is a matter of life or death.
"No insurance, it's a hard feeling. If a person is terminally ill, they won't see no financial aid, they won't see another day," Meridian resident George Blanks Jr. said.
Blanks says he's worked all his life, but his health starting failing and his health coverage lapsed. He was forced to retire early and now with no insurance and medical problems, he says a health coverage program for everyone is critical.
"With no insurance, you can't go to any doctor you want to and by going to the emergency room, you're just racking up bills you can't afford," Blanks said.
Statistics reveal nearly 46 million Americans have no insurance, and 25 million more are under insured. One major reason for this crisis is that many employers have stopped offering insurance to employees because of the high cost. And many people don't qualify for Medicare or Medicaid or can't afford private insurance.
"They need the universal medical coverage," Blanks said.
The president is pushing for a health insurance program that would be available for everyone, similar to how Medicare is now an option for Americans over age 65. President Obama has said he's already identified hundreds of billions of dollars worth of savings in the federal budget that could help finance it.
"He's trying his best to do whatever is best for the nation but it's going to be rough," Meridian Resident Vertia Hudson said.
But some locals aren't buying it because they say there's already enough governmental programs and we don't need to dish out anymore money.
"We can't pay for all the programs we have and the private sector does things much, much better," Meridian Resident Rex Lewis said.
Many agree there needs to be change in some form, but they disagree on how to do it. That's something that could be debated for months to come.