Last month Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney sent a letter to the Obama administration saying Mississippi would implement its own exchange, which was described by Chaney as an online marketplace to compare health care coverage policies. It's part of the Affordable Care Act, which Chaney said he must enforce in his capacity as an elected official.
But, that has put him on the outs with the Tea Party and Libertarians and he's even been called out by Gov. Bryant on national television. Bryant said he believes it's another step toward implementing ObamaCare in Mississippi. That's a sentiment shared by CMTP President Janis Lane, who said fighting the implementation of the exchange is a matter of protection for small businesses and job creators in Mississippi.
“Commissioner Chaney’s implementation of the ObamaCare Exchange in Mississippi is directly opposite of what he has said he supports in terms of federal policy,” said Lane in the Tea Party news release. “He promotes his move as one that keeps Mississippian’s in control of the health exchange, but refuses to discuss how such a move actually protects Mississippians and what authority this provides us. When pressured, he characterizes the exchange as nothing more than a website, and refuses to address the millions in taxes that will be taken away from Mississippi businesses. How many websites cost $20 million to build, and several additional millions each year to maintain?”
“This is more than a website,” she added. “It’s a vehicle to implement ObamaCare, and it will put an additional burden on Mississippi taxpayers and job creators. Mr. Chaney’s actions will cost jobs and small business in our state. But even more critically, is the amount of freedoms it will cost our citizens!”
Chaney's actions caused heated discussions between he and Tea Party members over the summer. The tensions have built since then.
Chaney said shortly after the election that he believed he and the Tea Party were on the mend, relationship-wise, saying he had even gotten hugs from some at Congressman Gregg Harper's victory party.
That has not turned out to be the case.
Gov. Bryant, labeled the first "Tea Party governor", called Chaney out in an interview last month on FOX Business.
"We just fundamentally disagree," he said. Bryant went on to say that he believed the implementation of the exchange could help kick-start events that would lead to a mass expansion of the state's Medicaid roles. That would cost the state plenty of money, which would have to be taken from other programs, he said.
The group said in their Tuesday release that they would be promoting a legislative agenda in 2013 to include:
- Jobs--Working to help jobless citizens gain a level playing field in the job market by working to limit the availability of jobs to non-citizens.
- Education--Working with parents to implement School Choice for all parents of schoolchildren.
- Tenth Amendment--Working to re-establish limited Federal involvement in Mississippi and the sovereignty of the Mississippi Constitution in governing the state.
- Taxes--Establishing guidelines for equitable property taxation for all Mississippi citizens.
- Welfare--Working to improve the taxpayer funded assistance programs for qualified citizens in need.
- Budgeting--Working to codify zero-based budgeting in fiscal rules and guidelines.
Lane says the group will also continue to work towards a change in the culture of dependency that now exists in Mississippi, and to show young adults how they are the most negatively affected by a continued march towards socialism, according to the Tea Party.