Even before the pandemic, Mississippi's health metrics worsened in key areas

September 11, 2020, The Clarion Ledger, Luke Ramseth – After the pandemic, the report’s authors predict, there will be further declines in U.S. lifespans, while health care costs will continue to suck up a larger share of income. The pandemic, Collins noted, is likely to leave already poorly-performing states like Mississippi “even farther behind” in terms of their health care system performance. Roy Mitchell, executive director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, said he wasn’t surprised by the report’s findings. “My first reaction to it is that at best it’s an embarrassment, at worst it’s a morbid dereliction of duty by our lawmakers, that Mississippi continues to rank dead last,” Mitchell said. “Even as we rank dead last overall, we somehow are worsening in key preventive and affordability measures.”  View Story.

Mississippians struggle to keep food on the table during COVID-19 pandemic

September 14, 2020, MPB, Kobee Vance – Hundreds of cars are wrapped around the state fairgrounds in Jackson with people waiting to receive free boxes of food. “It’s hard to find stuff you need, essentials, you know? It’s crazy. The first time I walked into Walmart and the shelves were empty, I cried.”Pam Roberts along with her friend Aletha have been waiting in line for hours to receive a week’s worth of meals. Both are out of work because of the pandemic and are relying on free food assistance.”And what we do when we get it, we dump it all out and we get what we want, and then we pick something for other people who couldn’t find a ride or something, older people,” says Roberts.” We love to help others.” View Story.

With No Legal Guardrails for Patients, Ambulances Drive Surprise Medical Billing

September 14, 2020, Kaiser Health News, Laura Ungar – Last year, an initial attempt at federal legislation to ban surprise billing left out ground ambulances. This February, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House that calls for an advisory committee of government officials, patient advocates and representatives of affected industries to study ground ambulance costs. The bill remains pending, without any action since the pandemic began. In the meantime, consumer advocates suggest patients try to negotiate with their insurers and the ambulance providers. View Story.

Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove: Arguments against Medicaid expansion in Mississippi off-base

September 13, 2020, The Clarion Ledger, Ronnie Musgrove – In recent days, I have heard the argument against Medicaid expansion go something like this — “right now the real challenge is prioritizing very limited healthcare resources.” Further, “we need to be spending health care dollars on people who are sick, dying or have a crippling disease.” What?Consider these facts: View Story.

Covid Is Clobbering America’s Farm Workers

September 12, Bloomberg, Adam Minter – Gloria Hill is calling it quits. Hill, a long-time employee of Manhattan Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hinds County, said she is exhausted from the rising number of coronavirus infections and deaths at the nursing home, the most in the state. In just over a month, the state Department of Health reported 144 staff and residents at the 180-bed facility were infected with the virus. Of those, 27 residents have died. The 60-year-old Hill said going to work was like entering a war zone. She decided to retire in late July when infections at the center were close to reaching their peak.  View Story.

© 2016 Mississippi Health Advocacy Program