Mississippi Governor: ‘There Is No One Who Doesn’t Have Health Care In America’

Written by Tara Culp-Ressler

In an interview with Kaiser Health News on Wednesday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) explained he remains a staunch opponent of Obamacare because health care reform is unnecessary. According to Bryant, every single American already has the health care they need.

In order to justify his continued refusal to expand his state’s Medicaid program — which would extend health coverage to an additional 200,000 low-income Mississippians — the governor explained that poor people don’t need a “massive new program” when they can simply visit an emergency room to receive care:

BRYANT: There is no one who doesn’t have health care in America. No one. Now, they may end up going to the emergency room. There are better ways to deal with people that need health care than this massive new program.

This is not a new train of thought in the Republican Party. During the presidential election, GOP candidate Mitt Romney claimed that “we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance” by picking them up in ambulance and taking them to the hospital. But suggesting that uninsured Americans can simply get the care they need in the ER is naive. Emergency room and ambulatory care are some of the most expensive medical services in the industry, and the current health care safety net isn’t able to accommodate the strain of an influx of uninsured, low-income Americans who can’t foot those bills.

And, of course, Bryant’s assertion that “there is no one” who lacks health care in this country is false. The Census Bureau estimates that nearly 49 million people were uninsured in 2011. Over 20 percent of working Americans don’t have health care, and 40 percent of the people living in poverty were unable to visit a doctor in 2010. Some of the country’s poorest residents are currently unable to qualify for Medicaid coverage — and even when they do, they can still struggle to access the health services they need.

Obamacare makes big strides to improve Americans’ access to care, particularly with its optional Medicaid expansion, which could extend coverage to 17 million previously uninsured low-income people across the country. But if Republican leaders like Bryant — whose own state has a 19 percent uninsurance rate, one of the worst in the nation — continue to oppose health care reform by pretending uninsured Americans don’t exist, that progress will be placed in jeopardy.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


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Photo: USDAgov/flickr


Don H.
Don H4 years ago

Bill and Katie D, I do not believe President Obama was ever for single payer.

When questioned about single payer during the health care reform debate, the President said something like, "We're not ready for single payer and it would be too expensive."

This is when I started to doubt Obama. No one could think of single payer as more expensive at half the cost of the status quo. And not ready? This nation has the highest cost health care in the world. We are way past ready! Health care costs are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.

I'm afraid you give President Obama too much credit. I see that a lot. I used to be an avid defender of President Obama. No more, I have had enough of his duplicity.

Bill and Katie D.

The US should have went with Obama wanting a single payer like Canada!! When they turned that down her did the best he could and was allowed!
Canada loves it!!
Everyone pays the same taxes and everybody is covered!!
We should have had the same in the US

Ken W.
Ken W4 years ago

This fool is another GOP fluky flapper.

Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W5 years ago

Cyan, I totally get what you're saying (even though there are some cretins around here who simply do not understand what you're talking about)

Only difference is that I'm Encouraging my mother to Keep going to her doctors.
She's had 4 strokes already. And my father has had 5. Yup, keep swallowing all that wayfarin! Ignore all those bleeding problems.
Yeah, it's one of "those" things.

And I've gone through at least 45 doctors myself. And I have insurance now. Have found ONE doctor in 40, (down in northern AL of all places) who did not tell me how dumb I was, how controlling I was, who listened to me and considered alternative therapies when appropriate and coordinated and didn't try to patronize me or make me feel like a cog in their system.
Problem is that it's a long drive from MI. How do you find a MD anyway? Everyone I've talked to tells me the same thing - "They're all good around here." If that's true, why have I gone through 5 in 8 months?
I'm not that difficult, but trying to find someone to trust & respect me in the least is getting to be dangerous, not just a bummer anymore.

nancy D.
nancy B5 years ago

Cyan it must be frustrating to be so perfect in an imperfect world. How can you stand it?

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs5 years ago

Suba, the system is flawed. AMA doctors are trained/brainwashed into a medical paradigm that is drugs, drugs, more drugs, lots of inconclusive invasive tests, more drugs, disease, disability, misdiagnosis. Look at a medical textbook sometime in most AMA medical training facilities. There are more pages advertising drugs than anything else and then there are drugs as the first treatment under an identified "disease". BTW, pregnancy is still being looked at as a disease in many doctors training, and hysterectomies are still the most overperformed operations and the most profitable. I was in a doctors' ethics class. The main thing taught was that a doctor was superior in intellect to every patient and should rule, not answer questions and demand obedience. Then, the "teacher" spent a lot of time on how to profit the most by tests and billing codes. Even if this is a minor faction of medical training, we have seen what medicine has become in the main through the proliferation of insurance with the "cooperation" of the AMA to insure a steady stream of income for the doctor, hospital and insurance. Before Medicare, insurance for medical care was limited and costs were down. Medicare and "health" insurance and the AMA, and malpractice suits "insured" rising costs. Obamacare is not insurance, is not health care is not even good medical care and is most definitely not universal.

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs5 years ago

Susan, What exactly did you not understand? I am not allowed to "opt out" of Medicare. The best I can do is refuse to pay for or have Part B, c, and or D. No matter what, I am forced to go through Medicare first, then when they refuse the treatment the doctor determines I need, if I am so stupid as to go to a doctor (I have had to fire 50 doctors in the past, because of their incompetence and inability to treat me, not a condition or a disease. That figure is no joke or exaggeration.) I have to pay, out of pocket, for everything, IF I can find a doctor who will treat me outside of medicare. Even if I use Medicare doctors, I have a deductible of from 2-5k depending on "treatment" plus copays before Medicare pays. If I am stupid enough to risk my life in a hospital, depending on the state in which I obtain Medicare services, I have to pay in full the first 5-10 days, before Medicare "kicks in", in addition to the deductible. At least, that is how it was explained in the Medicare manual. No, insurance is NOT insurance, nor does it create health, prevent ill health, nor does it ensure even minimal medical care. Even Obamacare can't and does not end unnecessary tests or drugs or surgeries; in fact, if doctors want to make money, it incentivizes and pays for the extensive treatment, tests and drugs, not good health. I will take responsibility for my own health and will never again trust a doctor, cancer included, accidents excluded.

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs5 years ago

Suba, here is the link to the IRS comments on the 9.5% which is the definition of affordable. Employers are required to offer basic insurance at a rate no more than 9.5% of a single payer's w-2 wages. Employers are not required to subsidize or pay any portion of the cost of dependent coverage and if coverage is available for the single payer at 9.5% of his wages, he cannot get government subsidies or for plans on the exchange.
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-11-73.pdf It is a hard read unless you are used to dealing with the convoluted, incomprehensible IRS language.

Don H.
Don H5 years ago

Insurance contributes nothing to health care. Zero.

Every cent spent on insurance is a complete waste. All the money spend on health care should go to care. It should be illegal to profit from health care in any way. Doctors and nurses could be paid just as much as they make now.

Adopt a single payer system that completely eliminates the costly, unnecessary insurance industry middle man.

Susan Allen
SusanAWAY A5 years ago

Cyan D., your last post seems a bit nutty. I mean, it didn't seem to make any sense. I'm guessing when you turn 65, you will opt out of medicare since you see no sense in having health insurance, right?