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Insurance commissioner responds to governor’s recent vetoes

Photo courtesy of Mike Chaney

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney has issued a response to Governor Tate Reeves’ vetoing of two bills involving health insurance rates and a process to determine insurance coverage.

Reeves on Wednesday waived Senate Bill 2224, which would have given the Mississippi Insurance Commission the authority to set insurance rates, instead of allowing private insurance companies to set costs. He sees this as a form of government overreach in an attempt to spite the free market.

The governor also waived Senate Bill 2622, known as the Prior Authorization Reform Act, which would have determined if the cost of a certain medical procedure, service, or medication is covered by an insurance plan.

While open to modifying the Prior Authorization process, Reeves is hesitant to support the legislation as currently drafted because he disagrees with certain elements that grant more authority to insurance administrative bodies and potentially increase the cost of Medicaid coverage, and healthcare in general, in the state.

Chaney, a Republican, expressed his discontentment with the governor’s take on the legislation. He says the bills were enacted to benefit both medical care providers as well as patients in the state, not to regulate insurance plans and policies, especially since the State Insurance Department has no authority over matters pertaining to Medicare and Medicaid.

The insurance commissioner issued the following statement in response to the governor’s usage of his veto power against the two bills:

“I am certainly disappointed in the Governor’s veto message for SB 2224 and SB 2622. Both of these bills are consumer-friendly bills that would benefit healthcare providers and consumers in our state. The Governor is sadly mistaken that SB 2224 would have affected Medicare and Medicaid plans as the Department of Insurance does not have jurisdiction over these plans and the bill did not expand that jurisdiction. Senate Bill 2224 would give the Department of Insurance the important tools necessary to ensure that Mississippians would continue to have access to quality healthcare at reasonable rates. As your Commissioner of Insurance, I have endeavored to protect the consumers in our state and, as long as I am your insurance commissioner, I will continue to protect consumers and healthcare providers and provide a level playing field for all insurance carriers in this state.”

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