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Bryant: Blocked Executive Order a Matter of ‘Health Care Access’

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 29 Oct 2013 09:59pm | comments
Governor Phil Bryant

Governor Phil Bryant is standing by an executive order that is currently being blocked by a federal judge. M-P-B's Jeffrey Hess reports the Governor's actions have sparked an interagency dispute.

A federal judge is blocking an executive order issued by Governor Phil Bryant that would have required the insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield to bring 10 hospitals back into its network.

Blue Cross sued to stop that order.

Bryant says even though the Judge put a temporary hold on his order, it was the right thing to do.

"My concern is health care access. My concern is not shrinking the market in Mississippi so you get the federal government coming in with even more force and even more determination to expand Obamacare here in the state," Bryant said.

The hospitals were dropped because of an ongoing dispute over how much they should be paid for procedures.

The order and subsequent lawsuit caused Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney to file a motion to intervene on behalf of the Department opposing Governor's decision.

Chaney says he is not siding with either Blue Cross or the Hospitals but, while he respects the Governor's intentions, the order goes beyond Bryant's executive authority.

"It wasn't a question of who was right and who was wrong, but the question is if the Governor can step in on our department at any moment he can step in and tell the public service commissioners that he didn't like the rates were allowing to be charged by the energy companies. And that is not within the purview of the Governor under the executive branch of Government," Chaney said.

The department of Insurance is currently investigating whether or not Blue Cross has a sufficient network without the 10 Health Management Associates hospitals.

If the Department determines the network is too limited, then Chaney says it falls to his office to require the insurer to pay the higher in network rates.

There will be a hearing next week to determine the fate of the executive order


Governor Phil Bryant



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