Thousands of Mississippians say they're in an insurance coverage - - Jackson, MS

Thousands of Mississippians say they're in an insurance coverage gap

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There is a battle for billions in Medicaid dollars but Mississippi lawmakers refuse to take it. Now, the political debate has faces and stories to explain how that's impacting their lives.

LaShombee Hoard of Clinton makes too much to qualify for Medicaid, but her salary isn't enough to qualify for Affordable Care Act tax credits.

"I was really upset that I fell in the gap," said Hoard.

She has Type 2 Diabetes, and is trying to cut corners since she's uninsured.

"As many corners as I can," she admitted. "Before long everything might be round."

But Hoard knows it's not in the best interest of her health.

"You're not supposed to reuse your lances that you poke your fingers with," detailed Hoard. "You're not supposed to reuse your syringes cause you know, bacteria or anything could get in. But sometimes I have to."

Like many, she thought the Affordable Care Act would be her saving grace. But it wasn't.

Executive Director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, Roy Mitchell, says that gap could be bridged by expanding Medicaid.

"Mississippi lawmakers are refusing to accept 8.7 billion, yes 8.7 billion dollar check in the form of federal dollars that would more than cover the increased costs of expansion," explained Mitchell.

In a statement Governor Phil Bryant said, “I am not for putting 300,000 additional Mississippians on the Medicaid rolls, because we cannot financially sustain that. We already have 640,000 people on Medicaid.”

Bryant says the state would have to raise taxes or make cuts to critical programs if it expanded Medicaid. He cautions that the federal government could change their funding deal and leave Mississippi to pay the full costs.

But those left in the coverage gap, feel like their voices are being left out of the debate.

"We pay for the health care of you and your families," Hoard said about lawmakers. "The least you could do is make sure we have health care."

The group estimates 130,000 Mississippians fall into this coverage gap.

27 states have decided to expand Medicaid so far.

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