JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - 8-year-old Ashanti Woods and her sister Ma'Kya are getting checked out Wednesday at the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center. "My head, throat, chest have been hurting," Ashanti says.
Their mom, Christina, has always been able to take them to the doctor. But because of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, made into law one year ago, millions of other children in Mississippi, and their families, will have access to health care too.
"In fact in Mississippi, 1.5 million people who had pre-existing conditions now are able to afford health care coverage as a result of the Health Care Reform Act," says Mississippi Senator John Horhn, D-Hinds County.
The Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center is a federally qualified health center, so while families could always come here regardless of their income, benefits have now been expanded.
"With the Affordable Healthcare Act, they are able to get their prescriptions," says Pediatrician Dr. Lynda Jackson-Assad. "We do provide a lot of education due to the fact that lots of times people only take their children to the emergency room for care. With the Affordable Healthcare Act, it increases their access to care."
But with a price tag that could eclipse $2 trillion over the years, is it the right answer?
"I anticipate it will not have any major impact on the federal deficit," Senator Horhn says.
Mississippi Senator Chris McDaniel disagrees.
"The federal government is just not capable of making sure that benefits such as this are properly given in an efficient fashion," he says. "This is not going to save money, we don't need a study to demonstrate that."
McDaniel is lead council on a first-of-its-kind federal class action lawsuit filed in Hattiesburg last year. Private citizens brought the suit; they say the healthcare plan is unconstitutional because it requires people to purchase health insurance.
Mississippi has also joined other states in a separate class action suit which challenges aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
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