Center for Justice: Bryant lacks real awareness of health care needs

Published in the Mississippi Business Journal

Gov. Phil Bryant’s pronouncement last week that hospital emergency room access ensures that all Mississippians have health care reflects a poor understanding of how healthcare works for many of the state’s families, the Mississippi Center for Justice says

Replying to Bryant’s statement in an interview with Kaiser Health News, the public-interest law firm also criticized Bryant’s refusal thus-far to accept a federal offer to expand Medicaid coverage to around 300,000 of Mississippi’s working poor.

Health Law Director Linda Rigsby, in a press statement responding to the governor’s Kaiser interview, said Bryant should take the time to familiarize himself with the affordable health care challenges his constituents face. “Gov. Bryant’s recent comments, which equated visiting the emergency room to getting comprehensive health care, sadly demonstrated the huge gap in understanding many people have over how our healthcare system actually works, and often fails, for many working families,” Rigsby said.

“Currently, 500,000 Mississippians are without health insurance—100,000 of them children. In this context, it is unconscionable to block efforts to expand Medicaid and implement other pieces of the federal Affordable Care Act.”

She said expanding access to health care to more working Mississippians will “improve the lives of families across the state, save taxpayer dollars by reducing costly emergency room visits, and boost job creation in the healthcare sector.

Created in 2003, the Mississippi Center says its mission is to advance racial and economic justice through an approach that combines legal services with policy advocacy, community education and media advocacy.