Thursday, October 3, 2013

Senate Conservative Coalition Opposes: Lower Health Care Costs

Sen. Michael Watson
Tea Party Senator Michael Watson of Pascagoula shared his thoughts about an article posted in the Clarion-Ledger about the status of the health insurance marketplace that went online October 1. He went on his standard tirade about biased media and bureaucracy. Nothing new there. I wonder if the senator has ever had to deal with an insurance company. Talk about bureaucracy!
"This is a top-down government program that limits consumer choice and controls even minor details about what types of plans and products can be offered. Mississippi’s opportunity to exert 'meaningful' control over its exchange was simply window dressing sold by the federal government on the front end."
Watson's comments miss the mark just like Speaker Gunn. He's arguing that the health insurance marketplace limits consumer choice. He can blame himself and his Republican colleagues for that. They're the ones who deferred to the federal government in establishing Mississippi's health insurance market. On top of that, health insurance companies already control what types of plans and products can be offered.

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney has pointed out for many months that had the Legislature allowed a state-run insurance exchange to operate, there would be several companies offering insurance plans in all 82 counties. Watson appears to be suggesting that Chaney was gullible enough to be duped by the federal government to push the plan that he was unsuccessful in implementing.
"The long term solution is to increase access, meaning more doctors, more nurse practitioners, etc., which increases competition and drives down cost. That solution ultimately leads to more and better care."
For all of his claims about understanding the economy, Watson does not seem to grasp the problem that many Mississippians have about walking through the door of a doctor's office: they simply do not have health insurance coverage. Having more physicians in the state is critical for our long-term needs, but that alone will not be enough. The Affordable Care Act is already bringing down health care costs, but Watson does not care to fact facts.

Watson and the Senate Conservative Coalition have taken too many orders from the Tea Party. They have come down with a case of amnesia about how insurance works and that what we are now seeing are major steps being taken to reduce health care costs and expand private health insurance access across Mississippi. Watson needs to set down the tea pitcher, but he seems rather thirsty these days.

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