JACKSON Mississippians reacted promptly to the Supreme Court's ruling on "Obamacare." Some weren't pleased. Here's a roundup; we'll add to it as others come in. We'd love you to add your two cents in the comments below or send a comment to [email protected] for this list.
"Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision only provided clarity to the legal questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act. Significant policy questions are left unresolved and further complicated by today’s ruling, and they must be addressed by our state’s lawmakers and health care officials.
"Most Mississippians are unaware that major revisions have already been implemented to impact health care delivery in the state. Many of these revisions are not contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"For example, there are current Federal provisions that contain reimbursement cuts to Mississippi hospitals totaling $5 Billion over the next 10 years. Mississippi’s 116 hospitals are already paying over $250 Million each year in “provider taxes” to fund the state’s Medicaid program, and these additional Federal cuts to hospitals will be devastating.
"Some public officials have already stated Mississippi cannot afford the Medicaid eligibility expansion provided for by the Act. As taxpayers and major employers in Mississippi, hospitals certainly understand and appreciate that position.
"However, failure to expand Medicaid eligibility will leave just under 200,000 Mississippians with no health care coverage at all. These Mississippians will be left “in the gap” - not eligible for Medicaid and not eligible to purchase health insurance through the health insurance exchange. The result could be devastating. Hospitals cannot be expected to treat such a large volume of people with no expectation or prospect of payment for those services. The result could very well mean the closure of many of our community hospitals. Clearly, these are burning policy issues that must be addressed fairly quickly.
"MHA will be calling upon our Congressional delegation and all state leaders to address the critical issues our hospitals will face as we continue to provide jobs and quality health care in the communities we serve. In the meantime, hospitals will continue to do what we do: care for sick people and focus on quality and efficiency in delivering that care."
— Mississippi Hospital Association
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold ObamaCare and its individual mandate is alarming. It is a stunning expansion of federal power and an assault on the liberty of American citizens. That is exactly why I personally filed a legal challenge to ObamaCare in 2011 and why we joined the multi-state lawsuit on which the Supreme Court ruled today.
Although I am continuing to review the ruling by the Supreme Court, I would resist any expansion of Medicaid that could result in significant tax increases or dramatic cuts to education, public safety and job creation.
Many of us hoped ObamaCare would fall today by a vote of the Supreme Court; instead, it will fall in November by a vote of the American people. I plan to work hard between now and November to elect Mitt Romney and a Republican Congress so we can repeal the damaging policies of this president.”
— Gov. Phil Bryant
“The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court today does not change the fact that Obamacare raises taxes on Americans and expands the bureaucracy of our health care system,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “Defeating Barack Obama in November is even more important to limit the intrusion of the federal government into our daily lives and fight for the full repeal of Obamacare.”
— Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves
"This is a great day for Democrats in Mississippi, and for the American people. Democrats have been fighting for health care for all Americans for four generations. No American should ever be denied the finest health care in the world simply because they cannot afford it on their own. America is greater than that, and the American people deserve better than that. Today's ruling is a ruling for the people."
— Rickey Cole, Executive Director of the Mississippi Democratic Party
“At a time when existing entitlement programs have created a financial crisis for our country it is shameful that Barack Obama and his liberal Democrat allies in Congress worked to create yet another government program that taxpayers cannot afford. A government takeover of healthcare was bad policy before the Supreme Court ruling and it is still bad policy. I applaud our Mississippi Republican elected officials who have fought this effort in Washington and through the court system. I know they will continue to fight. Obamacare needs to be fully repealed and the only way to do that is with the election of more Republicans to the House and Senate and Gov. Mitt Romney as president in November.”
— Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef
“While the University of Mississippi Medical Center does not take an official position on the Supreme Court ruling, we join our country’s 136 other academic medical centers in the commitment to improving the quality and affordability of health care, expanding primary care services to rural areas, addressing the needs of uninsured citizens, and increasing not only the number of medical school graduates but the supply of federally funded residency training positions. Irrespective of the ruling, UMMC, along with academic medical centers across the nation, will be leaders in creating a better health-care system for the benefit of all our citizens.”
— Dr. James E. Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Mississippi Medical Center
“Today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a tremendous victory for Mississippi families. More than 500,000 adults and 100,000 children in Mississippi will benefit from the increased options for health insurancecoverage and will help to protect working families and small business owners from unknown catastrophic health care costs by providing affordable health insurance options.
“Thousands of Mississippians have already benefited from the ACA — seniors are paying lower drug costs, young adults have been able to stay on their parents’ insurance plan, and insurance no longer has lifetime limits and covers preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs. Also, Mississippians will benefit from reforms that will be implemented in 2014 when no one can be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition and low- and moderate-income Mississippians will have access to more affordable coverage.
“While the court’s decision raises questions around changes to Medicaid eligibility, the need to provide multiple health insurance options to Mississippi families remains an important element in providing affordable health insurance to Mississippians.”
— Mississippi Health Advocacy Program
“While I have great respect for the Supreme Court, I am tremendously disappointed in this ruling. This decision expands the power of the federal government and leaves citizens with fewer freedoms. Only a full repeal of this overreaching law will allow Americans to receive the care that they need, from the doctors that they choose, at a cost that they can afford.”
— U. S. Rep. Gregg Harper, District 3
“I am extremely disappointed by the decision. However, the Supreme Court has stated plainly what the President and his allies went to great lengths to deny: Obamacare is a tax. In fact, it is a massive tax hike on the American people. Obamacare was bad law yesterday and it’s still bad law today. We must continue to work for full repeal of Obamacare and for legislation that lowers costs by giving individuals control over their health care decisions. This ruling also highlights the critical importance of the election this fall. The Supreme Court has had its say in June; the people will have their say in November.”
— U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, District 1
"Today’s ruling keeps in place a number of healthcare reforms that are making healthcare more accessible and affordable to middle class and working families, like savings on prescription drugs and preventive screenings for seniors, coverage of people with pre-existing conditions, and extending coverage to more people through small business tax credits and insurance exchanges. It is a relief to know that we will not have to go back to square one on healthcare reform; however, healthcare reform still needs to be an ongoing process. That is why it is so important that we have people in Congress who want to work on solutions, not just work on scoring political points."
— Brad Morris, Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress, Mississippi District 1 (Nunnelee's seat)
Rickey's Cole's response to Nunnelee statement:
"After insurance companies poured millions of dollars into Republican groups supporting Congressman Alan Nunnelee (R-Insurance Companies), he is scheduled to vote July 11 to put health insurance companies back in control of patients’ health care. After the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act today, Congressman Nunnelee’s Republican leaders announced they will vote to let insurance companies drop coverage for people who get sick, deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, heart disease, or cancer and re-open the prescription drug ‘donut hole’ that would raise costs for seniors.
"Congressman Nunnelee took the same vote back on January 19, 2011. Washington politicians like Congressman Alan Nunnelee are trying to score partisan political points and protect insurance companies instead of protecting the middle class and seniors,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Rather than working to create jobs by strengthening the middle class, Congressman Nunnelee wants to put insurance companies back in charge of health care: taking away critical patient protections, denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, heart disease, or cancer and raising prescription drug costs for seniors. This is just the latest proof that Congressman Alan Nunnelee’s priority is scoring political points and protecting insurance company campaign contributors, not securing health care coverage and strengthening middle class families.”