JACKSON and WASHINGTON — Current healthcare reform proposals debated in the U.S. Congress would raise health insurance rates for Mississippi families and businesses and push affordable healthcare out of reach, Gov. Haley Barbour wrote in a letter to all members of Mississippi’s Congressional delegation Oct. 27.
Barbour cited an analysis by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association of a U.S. Senate Finance Committee bill that shows health insurance rates increasing by an average $3,869 for Mississippi families within five years of implementation. The cost of individual plans would rise by an average $1,800.
"Obviously, these enormous cost increases are against the interests of Mississippi’s families and small businesses," Barbour wrote. "While some may criticize the fact that this analysis was done by Blue Cross Blue Shield, it is totally consistent with the history of states like New York, Massachusetts and Maine," all of which have healthcare programs with features common to the bills pending in Congress.
Barbour added, "If our goal is to reduce the cost of health insurance and medical care so that more Americans can afford it, this legislation is a step in the wrong direction."
U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R–Miss.) delivered remarks Oct. 27 on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in opposition to a Democratic healthcare plan “Do we have good doctors in this country? Do we have good surgeons? Do we have good hospitals? And do we have reasonable access to that care? The answer is clear that we do," Harper said. "Do you believe that a government takeover of our healthcare system will make health care better or worse? Do you really trust the federal government to take over this important part of our lives? The last thing that we need is to have some government bureaucrat standing between you and your doctor while making these important decisions.
“Finally, the Democratic health care plan will hurt seniors by cutting Medicare. This Democratic plan will push unfunded mandates to my home state of Mississippi in the average amount of $360 million a year for the next 10 years. My district and our country simply can’t afford this.”