Healthcare policy experts are weighing-in on the latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As MPB's' Desare Frazier reports, they discuss the pros and the cons.
Roy Mitchell with Mississippi Health Advocacy Program says the Graham-Cassidy Bill would eliminate health insurance subsidies, lead to higher rates for pre-existing conditions and gut Medicaid. Mitchell says instead of the federal government administering the Medicaid program, states would receive a block grant. He contends the grant wouldn't be enough to cover healthcare costs for the neediest Mississippians over time.
"It fundamentally changes the nature of the Medicaid program. This touches a lot of lives in Mississippi. A large majority of Mississippi's nursing homes residents are on Medicaid, said Mitchell.
State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney has followed the congressional debate. He doesn't think the bill will hurt Mississippians. Chaney says the state will receive 25 percent more funding through Medicaid block grants for ten years.
"And I would remind Mississippians that we only have 28,000 people in Mississippi under the Affordable Care Act. Where under Medicaid we've got 760,000. And Medicaid in the state would receive 25 percent more. So it's probably good for the State of Mississippi," said Chaney.
Jameson Taylor is with the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. He says there's another benefit.
"It repeals what's called the Individual Mandate Tax. This is the tax you pay if you have not purchased insurance. This would also benefit Mississippi," said Taylor.
Taylor says ultimately, he'd like Republicans in congress to focus on healthcare innovation, improving quality and reducing red tape. Republicans in congress are pushing for a vote by Saturday to meet a deadline.