Dr. Michael Forster

Mississippi health exchange hung up over Chaney-Bryant split

Evidently, there’s little harmony over health care in state Republican ranks.  Insurance commissioner Mike Chaney submitted a proposal for a state health exchange – a feature of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that will allow consumers to shop for suitable insurance plans – in November.  Not only is it the law, argues Mr. Chaney, but it’s the best way for Mississippi to exercise control over its health care destiny.  Governor Phil Bryant disagrees – really with all things Obamacare, but specifically with Chaney’s submission – arguing that he alone (as governor), and not Chaney (a mere insurance commissioner), has the authority to submit a proposal to the federal government.

Bryant’s rationale has the advantage of brevity, if not logic – he says he just “doesn’t trust the feds.”  Chaney’s response, according to the Associated Press, which obtained a copy of a letter Chaney sent last week to Bryant, is also pithy: If you don’t trust the feds,governor, why let them run your exchange?  – which will happen under the law for any state that doesn’t develop its own plan.

Quite the intra-party dust-up.  One would hope that state leaders can manage not only to get on the same page, but to get it right.  Mississippi’s health care picture is bad enough; it shouldn’t suffer further from self-inflicted wounds.

Dr. Michael Forster
Dr. Michael Forster

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