How MHAP Helped to Shape Health Care Reform


In 2008, Viewpoint Learning and the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program (MHAP) began a series of collaborative dialogues to discuss how to deliver health care to Mississippi residents. More than 100 Mississippians were a part of these dialogues. With this as a starting point, Mississippians worked through a series of reform scenarios the public would be willing to support and the conditions in which they would support it. The purpose of these conversations was to create a roadmap that could be used to begin a discussion on health care reform in Mississippi. During these dialogues, participants from diverse backgrounds decided, that in order to improve health care in Mississippi, several things needed to happen:

  • We need to provide health insurance for everyone. Participants agreed that it was not right for people to be denied coverage or care because of a pre-existing condition, or to be dropped from coverage when they get sick.
  • The employer-based system is not working. Very few participants believed that the current employer-based system was still up for the job. Many people fall through the cracks, and fewer Mississippi employers are able to offer insurance at all.
  • Participants agreed that a state run system might be preferable.
  • Participants wanted to improve prevention and access to care.

To read the 2008 Voices for Health Care Report, click here. To see what some of the participants had to say, watch the video below.


In 2011, MHAP recognizes that the Affordable Care Act builds on many of the core principles discovered through these dialogues. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act:

  • Children with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied health insurance coverage.  Beginning in 2014, no one with a pre-existing condition will be denied health insurance coverage.
  • Health insurance companies can no longer drop a person's coverage when he or she gets sick.
  • The Affordable Care Act also addresses the concerns with the employer-based health insurance system by creating Exchanges, marketplaces that will allow individuals who fall through the cracks of the employer-based system to purchase health insurance coverage online.
  • The Affordable Care Act puts health care reform into the hands of the states by allowing them to operate these Exchanges.
  • The Affordable Care Act builds on the principles of prevention by providing preventive services such as mammograms and wellness exams without cost sharing for individuals with health insurance coverage.

Today, MHAP is continuing to work with the public to ensure that these core principles are implemented in the way Mississippians envisioned. MHAP has expanded these dialogues by working with a range of organizations and leaders to share information on health care reform in Mississippi as it relates to establishing a state health insurance exchange.

To read more about this project, visit the Affordable Care Act Implementation Project page on this website.