By Leslie N. Dees
The Star Herald
It is imperative, especially for Mississippians, the people learn how the Affordable Care Act of 2010 will improve their lives. When people fail to seek out knowledge for themselves they become victims of those who hold the knowledge. The Mississippi Center for Justice has a Website(http://www.mscenterforjustice.org/PDFS/ACABrief.pdf) with in-depth knowledge of what the Affordable Care Act means for Mississippians.
Robert’s decision to keep in place all the tenets of the Affordable Care Act, allows America to move forward in correcting the current broken for profit healthcare system. Given Mitt Romney was governor at the time Massachusetts implemented the same healthcare system, one wonders why Mitt has pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act his first day in office. What will he repeal?
• Medicaid income eligibility for all individuals under the age of 65, with incomes up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL);
• Extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through 2019, with funding through 2015;
• Tax credits to help moderate-income Mississippi residents purchase private insurance;
• The establishment of state-based Health Benefit Exchanges where people can go to purchase and enroll in healthcare coverage;
• The requirement for states to develop streamlined and consumer-friendly eligibility determination and enrollment processes for consumers across public programs;
• Elimination of discriminatory practices in private insurance, such as denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, and imposing annual and lifetime caps on coverage; and
• Children’s eligibility to remain on their parents’ insurance up to age 26.
It is disingenuous for Gov. Bryant, to make a show of public hesitation for adopting the Affordable Care Act in Mississippi when the Mississippi Insurance Department accepted $20,143,618 Level 1 funding on August 12, 2011 to establish an exchange for insurance. It is also disingenuous to proclaim the death of healthcare in Mississippi, when over 500,000 residents are currently without health insurance. There will be no death to Medicaid in Mississippi with expansion of access. The program will be funded 100% with federal funds until 2020 and with 90% federal funds after 2020.
The biggest untruth associated with the Affordable Care Act, outside of death panels, is the cost to small businesses. This act will allow small businesses to compete for top level employees by being able to offer healthcare plans with premiums once reserved for large businesses. It will also allow more people to create industry without the fear of large insurance premiums. Ohio and Wisconsin have increased employment from the implementation of parts of the ACA.
This matter of ensuring all Americans have access to affordable healthcare has been politicized for all the wrong reasons. The Affordable Care Act is the child of the Heritage Foundation (Heritage Consumer Choice Health Plan, 1992). Newt Gingrich championed the plan and Mitt Romney enacted the plan in Massachusetts. It is preposterous for Republican governors to vow to fight the implementation of affordable healthcare for all Americans. Once more as the propaganda against the ACA fills newspapers across the land, I encourage everyone to seek the truth.
Chair, Attala County Democratic Executive Committee