Heated Healthcare Debate

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

There was a heated exchange Thursday afternoon between Mississippi Insurance Commissioner, Mike Chaney and director of health policy studies at the CATO Institute, Michael Cannon.

It happened after Cannon publicly slammed states for moving forward with a state insurance exchange program, which is required by the Affordable Care Act, recently upheld by the Supreme Court.

Cannon says Mississippi should not set up an exchange nor should the state expand the Medicaid program. It's those two issues causing a lot of debate.

"These two elements of the law are going to increase to cost of health insurance, they're going to increase the cost of government, they're going to throw people out of their current health insurance and they're going to make it harder for sick people to have access to care," said Cannon.

Chaney says he agrees that Obamacare needs to be repealed and hopes the exchange won't be needed if presidential hopeful Mitt Romney wins the White House.

"If we don't pull the plug before the election, we'll make a decision after the election, the presidential election in November, as to whether or not to move forward with the exchange," said Chaney.

Meanwhile, director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center, Ed Sivak, says the state needs to act on both elements. Sivak says last year Medicaid spending was responsible for $2 billion in income.

"Sitting back and doing nothing is not a viable option in Mississippi. We stand to lose millions of dollars over the next several years to provide coverage for the uninsured. For some of our rural hospitals, that's the difference of staying in business or going out of business," said Sivak.

As the debate rages on, Cannon says Mississippi needs to join other states in resisting the law.

"If states refuse to create exchanges or refuse to expand their Medicaid programs, it exposes the cost of this law in a way that will force Congress to reopen it and repeal it," said Cannon.

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  • by Not Surprised Location: Lauderdale County on Jul 13, 2012 at 08:12 AM
    We are going to pay for the moochers either way!!
  • by wt_ on Jul 13, 2012 at 03:51 AM
    So lets get this right, our so called public servants can care less if the poor uninsured people get sick can't get check-ups and get turned away from hospitals. Because they are set with thier state paid for insurance, they don't want jeopordize thier benefits our thier families. What do they think if we let the poor get sick enough they' ll just die off and we won' t have to worry about them. In reality when a poor unisured person is ill enough to be admitted to a hospital the cost of medical care goes up because they had no insurance and can't pay, we have to pay $25 or more for a single asprin or tylenol to offset the cost of unisured not being able to pay. Seems to me if all people seen by the doctor can pay then the price of healthcare would decline.
    • reply
      by Mike on Jul 13, 2012 at 06:51 AM in reply to wt_
      The poor insured people have been receiving care for years, I do not see any dying on the streets. The poor do not have to worry about paying any bills most of the hospitals have to absorb the cost or pass it on to paying customers. If they did have insurance it will not matter someone will have to pay for it, they are poor. You have been sold a lie to add another entitlement program we cannot afford.
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