Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Copeland, Toni J.

Committee Member

Hoffman, David M.

Committee Member

Martucci, Jessica

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only


Applied Anthropology

Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures


America’s poor face many obstacles including health disparities and limited access to affordable primary healthcare services. This study focuses on treatment seeking and knowledge of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act among the working poor in Tupelo, Mississippi, where research was conducted in 2014. The working poor cannot afford medical insurance even with government subsidies but earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, leaving them with few options. Strategies to manage acute and chronic illnesses include frequenting organizations that attempt to fill the gaps in healthcare. This thesis presents a cultural model of health-seeking among the working poor as they attempt to navigate the changing healthcare marketplace. Research indicates that the working poor are largely uninformed and unable to utilize ObamaCare and are still relying on safety net providers.