HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Supreme Court's decision Thursday on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was a big topic of discussion, at least informally, during an annual gathering of health professionals at Southern Miss Friday. The High Court's decision to uphold the mandate requiring all Americans to buy health insurance was seen as good news by some and a cause for concern among others attending the 2012 Health Summit at the Thad Cochran Center.
The event brought together physicians, educators and elected officials to develop new health policies in Mississippi.
"My opinion on the Supreme Court decision is that on balance, I think it's good for Mississippi, primarily because if we choose to expand Medicaid coverage, we can bring another 250,000 people under insurance coverage into the state," said Dr. Michael Forster, Dean of the College of Health at Southern Miss.
"I was actually hoping that it would be overturned and we'd get a fresh start with a new focus on the positive aspects in the bill and remove the negative aspects of the bill," said Dr. Luke Lampton, chairman of the Mississippi State Board of Health.
"For Mississippi, I think there are a lot of very positive things about this new legislation," said Dr. Richard D. DeShazo, professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. "It's going to allow us to provide healthcare services for maybe 25 percent of our population that doesn't have easy access to health services. Plus, it's going to bring in a lot of new dollars to the state," DeShazo said.
"Whatever healthcare system is handed to us, as long as doctors and nurses and pharmacists and healthcare professionals remain focused on the patient, we'll figure out how to work with whatever system is handed to us," said Dr. Darrell Lovins, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at William Carey University.
The summit included presentations on health insurance exchanges and the governor's action plan for health care in the Magnolia State.