JACKSON, Miss. --Mississippi is not going to operate a state Run Heath Care Exchange.
Commissioner Mike Chaney submitted a proposal for a state run exchange to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) back in mid-November. But Mick Bullock with the Governor’s office says they got a letter from that agency on November 26th asking for the Governor’s opinion on whether or not the Commissioner had the power to set up such an exchange.
“The Governor responded by a letter dated December 28 that in our view, in the Governor’s office view, the Department of Insurance lacks that authority,” Bullock explained.
But Commissioner Chaney tells me that’s just not true. “That authority was granted in 2009 when Governor Bryant was Lt. Governor,” he said.
But Bryant’s office pointed out that in 2011, the insurance commissioner’s office asked for approval from the Legislature to create a health insurance exchange, and lawmakers didn't pass a bill.
“The legislation that died in 2011 was essentially to allow us to work with other agencies. It was killed for political reasons,” according to Chaney. “But with all of that said, it would be almost impossible for us to now operate a state base exchange now that the Governor has told HHS that he doesn’t think that we have the authority.”
An exchange is an Internet based marketplace where you can buy private health insurance. Under Obama care, exchanges are to be set up and run by individual states or by the federal government.