Friday, July 13, 2012

Chaney buckles to Tea Party, suspends work on health insurance exchange

Meet Mississippi's new Insurance Commissioner

For over two years, Mississippi's Insurance Department, like other insurance departments across the country, has been working to implement its own health insurance exchange.  A healthcare exchange would allow Mississippians to select health care plans from a group of plans eligible for federal subsidies.

The concept of healthcare exchanges is not new and has been promoted by left-wingers like former Governor Haley Barbour and the Heritage Foundation.  As late as Wednesday, Commissioner Mike Chaney was spearheading an effort to bring a healthcare exchange to Mississippi. 

Under pressure from the Mississippi Tea Party and "America's First Tea Party Governor" Phil Bryant, Commissioner Chaney has suddenly announced that Mississippi's exchange will be shelved until "after the November election." 

This is the latest example of knee-jerk politics overwhelming sound public policy and the impact for the state could be severe.  Under federal law, states that do not have an operational exchange by January 1, 2014 will have one provided for them by the federal government.  If this were to happen, Mississippi would have missed an opportunity to tailor a program to our unique healthcare needs.

This appalling lack of political courage by Chaney has prompted some serious chest pounding by the Tea Party who, according to Y'all Politics, is circulating an e-mail titled "Under pressure from us, Chaney has surrendered".  Indeed.


Jill B said...

This was a comment on MS Political Pulse yesterday:

"The commissioner never said he was putting the exchange on hold and, in fact, stated that the exchange was going forward. Here is the text of a statement released today: “I want to make it clear that my position regarding the Health Insurance Exchange has not changed.

We are not going to make any final decisions regarding the Exchange until after the Presidential and Congressional elections on November 6th. We will, however, continue to do those things toward the establishment of an Exchange that we must do to keep us in a position to make the best decision in November for all Mississippians. That is the only way to keep all of our available options open.

If we halt everything now, we will have prematurely surrendered Mississippi’s health insurance market to federal control. I took an oath of office to protect the interests of the people of Mississippi and that is what I intend to do.

I have and will continue to support a free-market solution to providing health insurance products to individual consumers and business owners in the State of Mississippi.”

—Commissioner of Insurance Mike Chaney"

Cottonmouth said...

"Never said he was putting it on hold"? Really? That's EXACTLY what he said and what he was praised by Gov. Bryant FOR saying. He's hoping that no one is smart enough to realize he's flip-flopped and is taking the radical position on the exchange.