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Conservative Groups Call to End Health Insurance Exchange

By Daniel Cherry | Published 12 Jul 2012 07:15pm | comments
Mississippi's insurance exchange, long-supported by several top Republican leaders, is now taking heat from conservative groups. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports.
 
The Affordable Care Act tells states, "Set up a health insurance exchange or the federal government will set one up for you." Mississippi leaders, like Republican Insurance Commissioner, Mike Chaney, have been working on an insurance marketplace since before the health care law passed Congress.
 
"I support a free market exchange in the State of Mississippi. We've done that since 2007. I still support a free market. I do not support a market supported by the federal government."
 
Yesterday in Jackson, Michael Cannon, the Director of Health Policy Studies with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, spoke to the right-leaning Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Cannon is against any health insurance exchange and called on state officials to put its plans on hold. Afterwards, he and Chaney had had a heated discussion. 
 
Cannon: "You could fold the exchange right now, and you can do the same thing, you can change your mind later."
Chaney: "I could also shirk my responsibility to be accountable to the people of the State of Mississippi and not fulfill my fiduciary responsibility and be certain that we have a viable market too. I don't do that."
 
Chaney says, if the health care law isn't repealed, he wants Mississippi to be in control of the exchange...not the federal government. But Cannon believes state control of insurance exchanges is a myth.
 
"Every state-run health insurance exchange has to be approved by the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services, who will have the power to order states to do everything that she would do through a federal exchange. There's no autonomy here."
 
While the debate continues on whether to keep the exchange, a study from the Mississippi Center for Health Policy says an insurance exchange would help 275,000 Mississippians get access to health insurance.

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