Mississippi Reaction

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

With the entire Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, upheld by the Supreme Court, states like Mississippi which had federal lawsuits against it will now have to abide by it.

At the center of the controversial law is the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance by 2014. In it's 5-4 ruling to uphold that provision, the high court said the requirement to have insurance is a tax, which makes it constitutional. For the more than half a million people who are uninsured in Mississippi, if policies are not in place by 2014 it means a fee of $285 per family or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater.

"That's disappointing. It's one of the largest tax increases on the American people in modern history," said Governor Phil Bryant. "The president himself said and argued several times that this was not a tax, it was indeed a penalty."

Program director for the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, Corey Wiggins, says whatever you call it; it's a win for working Mississippi families.

"It's that security that when you walk out the door and you go to work and do your days work that you know that you're providing for your family," said Wiggins.

The law allows kids to stay on their parents insurance until age 26 and companies can't deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Former Mississippi Medical Association president, Dr. Thomas Joiner says while some benefits are well intended, government coverage doesn't come without strings.

"The government is not going to tell you, you can go take care of this person. They're going to say you can take care of this person, but you can only do this, this or this and that's the problem," said Joiner.

Many state and congressional lawmakers are coming out against the ruling calling it an intrusion of the federal government and a burden on taxpayers. Governor Phil Bryant even has a pending lawsuit claiming the Act violates privacy laws.

"That hasn't been ruled on, we're going to push hard. Senator Chris McDaniel represents me on that lawsuit and I hope we find our way to the Supreme Court, " said Bryant. "This fight is not over."

On the state level, the court did reject the mandatory medicaid expansion provision, which ensures states like Mississippi cannot lose federal funding if the state does not expand medicaid programs.


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