"You see now restaurants putting surcharges on meals," he said. "I talked to the president of our restaurant association...He believes that at least ten percent of his members will go out of business here in Mississippi."
The reason-business owners cannot afford some of the provisions of Obama Care that require them to provide insurance for their employees or suffer hefty fines.
One point where Mississippi now differs from the rest of some southern states like Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, is that Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney has accepted one of the tennants of the Affordable Health Care Act and told the federal government last week that Mississippi would set up an exchange system, or a marketplace where consumers will be able to compare and choose insurance plans. Other states have opted to allow the federal government to set one up for them in an effort to hold the president's feet to the fire-an attempt to force him to make good on the assertion that the exchanges would be based on the market and have less to do with federal control.
Bryant said he believes that the feds will eventually try to control Mississippi's exchange.
"To believe that somehow they will say it's yours, you control it, we won't have influence on it, is nonsense. They're gonna control it," he said.
Bryant said he has never seen a program funded with federal dollars that the feds did not eventually control.
"There are always not only strings, but sometimes chains and locks attached to it."
Bryant, the Mississippi Tea Party and Libertarians have been at odds with Chaney for months over the matter. Chaney told us the week the president was re-elected that he believed the tension between he and the Tea Party was over and that they would embrace his decision now that Obama Care was unlikely to be repealed. The tension is apparently still there.
"It's a unique situation. We've got an elected Commissioner of Insurance, a good friend of mine, and we just fundamentally disagree," said Bryant. He and Chaney are both Republicans.
Bryant said the exchanges will be a portal for the expansion of Obama Care in Mississippi, which he told News Mississippi is the largest entitlement program in American history.
Bryant also said he hopes the "fiscal cliff" can be overcome, but urged caution there, too.
"Nobody is talking about cutting governement spending and looking at entitlement programs, but the first thing they want to do is cut the defense budget."
Bryant said the negotiations amount to a big "group hug", but that both saides should take another look before taxes are raised on the middle class. That could come as soon as the first of the year with the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts and the implementation of sequestration, or nearly a half-trillion dollars in defense spending cuts, brought about by the failure of the Super Committee to reach fiscal solutions to the massive debt incurred by the federal government.