A writer from the Kaiser Health News blasted Mississippi's rejection of Obamacare in a "Letter from Mississippi" published in Politico. Sarah Varney makes some good points but engages in a little bit of advocacy journalism as there is one thing missing from her story: interviews from the other side. In this case, the other side are people who oppose establishing Obamacare or expanding Medicaid in Mississippi. Having said that, the article is fairly in-depth in nature and worth reading. Some excerpts:
The lunch rush at Tom’s on Main in Yazoo City had come to a close, and the waitresses, after clearing away plates of shrimp and cheese grits, seasoned turnip greens and pitchers of sweet tea, were retreating to the counter to cash out and count their tips. Wylene Gary was at the register ringing up the last of the $6.95 lunchtime specials as we chatted about her job, a modest low-paying one of the sort all too common in Mississippi, America’s most down-and-out state, where a full 20 percent of the population doesn’t graduate from high school, 22 percent lives in poverty—and even more than that, a quarter of the state, goes without health care coverage.
Gary didn’t have health insurance either, not that she hadn’t tried. When the Affordable Care Act mandated that Americans buy coverage, she didn’t want to be a lawbreaker: She had gone online to the federal government’s new website, signed up and paid her first monthly premium of $129. But when her new insurance card arrived in the mail, she was flabbergasted.
“It said $6,000 deductible and 40 percent co-pay,” Gary told me, her timid drawl giving way to strident dismay..... Rest of article. Read it.
The first year of the Affordable Care Act was, by almost every measure, an unmitigated disaster in Mississippi. In a state stricken by diabetes, heart disease, obesity and the highest mortality rate in the nation, President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law has barely registered, leaving the country’s poorest and most segregated state trapped in a severe and intractable health care crisis.
“There are wide swaths of Mississippi where the Affordable Care Act is not a reality,” Conner Reeves, who led Obamacare enrollment at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, told me when we met in the state capital of Jackson. Of the nearly 300,000 people who could have gained coverage in Mississippi in the first year of enrollment, just 61,494—some 20 percent—did so. When all was said and done, Mississippi would be the only state in the union where the percentage of uninsured residents has gone up, not down.....