Town hall meeting informs public about healthcare act - - Jackson, MS

Town hall meeting informs public about healthcare act

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A town hall meeting in Jackson offered answers to questions about the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Tuesday night dozens attended the session A Seat at the Table to find out more about the expanded healthcare coverage.

They came from across the metro area to Mt. Helm Baptist Church in Jackson to learn more about the Affordable Healthcare Act.

A panel consisting of a physician, small business owner, single mother and manager of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program discussed the plan.

"For those people currently uninsured here in the state this is an opportunity for them to provide and have economic security by having health insurance and for those who do have health insurance in the state this is a way to drive down costs, premiums, health care costs," said MS Health Advocacy Program Manager Dr. Corey Wiggins.

"I've come here to get more answers. I just wanted to learn about the preventive care, like the prostate exam and colonoscopy," said Tony Bowan of Clinton.

Panelists said the healthcare act offers health insurance exchanges or pools to include people like uninsured part time workers.

Small business owner Lee Harper of Jackson found herself without insurance 10 years ago when she was working and suffered stroke like symptoms.

Her husband was a contract worker also without insurance.

"When I got to the hospital I was worried about being in the emergency room, how much that was going to cost me. And then I had to stay in the hospital three days for them to run tests. And of course I was worried about how much all those tests were gonna cost me. Every time the doctor came into the room he was running another test," said Harper.

Experts say the act would expand Medicaid and extend coverage to about 270,000 in the state.

Governor Phil Bryant and Lt. Governor Tate Reeves are against an expansion citing that the state budget simply can't afford it.

Panelist and OB/GYN Dr. Carl Reddix said Mississippi currently receives a four to one Medicaid match from the federal government.

"The reality of the whole debate is that the rural hospital and inner city hospital would not function without Medicaid," said Reddix.

The physician admits that there are currently not enough health care providers and expansion of thousands could be problematic.

Other panelists say an economic plus will be the creation of more jobs in the medical and related fields.

The public forum was held in collaboration with the MHAP and the Mississippi State Conference NAACP.

A future town hall meeting will be held in Greenville. No date or location has been set.

Copyright 2012 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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