JACKSON, Miss.--The apparent denial of Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney's healthcare insurance marketplace plan came Thursday. His plan was for the state to run its own market place (now the proper name for what had been called insurance exchanges) under the rules of Obama Care. Now the feds will operate one for Mississippi and that has Chaney a bit sore.
"I am sorely disappointed in the denial of our application," he said. "We in this state have worked very dilligently. The denial speaks volumes about the true intentions in Washington, D.C. And those intentions are not something that I like."
He said he's disappointed mainly at the Dept. of Health and Human Services, which made the final decision to deny the state-run exchange.
"I feel betrayed at this point, but it is what it is and I'm being very pragmatic about it."
Chaney said he may no longer be able to trust HHS after their claim that they would work with states to create their own exchanges, which Chaney said would help Mississippi keep people off the Midicaid rolls by providing other insurance choices.
Gov. Phil Bryant's viewpoint on the matter differs with Chaney's and that has caused tension between the two friends and fellow Republicans. Byant has said repeatedly that he believes a state-run exchange would still ultimately fall under federal control and would still be a portal to speed up the Obama Care takeover of Mississippi's health care system.
In a statement released shortly after Chaney's 5 p.m. Thursday press conference, the governor echoed Chaney's thoughts that HHS may not be trustworthy.
My office has not been officially informed by the Department of Health and Human Services of a decision. However, I have said repeatedly that the health insurance exchanges mandated by ObamaCare are not free-market exchanges. Instead, they are a portal to a massive and unaffordable new federal entitlement program. They trigger new taxes on businesses and will ultimately drive more people onto Medicaid rolls. I firmly maintain my position that Mississippi will not willfully implement a mechanism that will compromise our state’s financial stability.
Furthermore, the Department of Health and Human Services’ refusal to approve Utah’s plan for an exchange proves that the federal government has no intention of allowing states to tailor exchanges to their own unique needs. Make no mistake, the federal government will control all exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.
Chaney said he did not want to speculate on the reasons his plan was denied. He said one of the reasons may be the political atmosphere.
"The fact that they think the political atmosphere is not conducive to a state-based exchange being operated-that's not my fault," said Chaney.
He said Mississippi would have been the only Republican state in the south to operate a state-based exchange.
Press conference video courtesy MCPP