Health insurance exchange authority in Mississippi granted to commissioner

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Mike Chaney, Mississippi Health Insurance CommissionerAttorney General has made Mike Chaney responsible for the establishment and management of the marketplace.

In Mississippi, the Attorney General’s Office has announced that the authority to create and operate the health insurance exchange in the state should be granted to Mike Chaney, the insurance commissioner.

This insurance news announcement was made by way of legal opinion the office released this week.

Governor Phil Bryant – like many other Republican state governors – are opposed to the healthcare reforms that have been implemented by the Obama administration. They have explained that they feel that the health insurance exchanges, for example, will provide the federal government with the control they need to expand Medicaid (which has also been described as a part of the ideal for the federal medical system overhaul).

Chaney (who is also a Republican) feels there is greater danger in a federally run health insurance exchange.

He has expressed that if the Mississippi does not operate its own health insurance exchange, there is a greater risk that the federal government will divert people to Medicaid from that online marketplace. Chaney expressed that “He’s ruled in our favor… and we thought that would happen.” adding that “We are very encouraged. Now everything will rest with HHS. The ball is in HHS’ court.”

The health insurance exchange proposals from 17 states and that of Washington D.C. have already been approved by the Department of Health and Human Services. Among them, four have governors who are Republican. Officials had explained that they did not previously act on the request made by Mississippi due to the division between Chaney and Bryant over where the authority would lie.

Attorney General Jim Hood expressed his opinion in an official statement that explained that his office feels that the Mississippi Insurance Department (MID) should be granted the authority for submitting the health insurance exchange application. He added that “Our office has found no statute which would allow the governor to override a decision of MID or the commissioner.”

Chaney has expressed that he feels that Bryant may still attempt to stop the efforts to establish a state run health insurance exchange, but did say that he had not actually spoken with the governor and that this was only his belief.

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