When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. — Thomas Jefferson
This afternoon, Gov. Phil Bryant followed through on his promise to issue an executive order for BlueCross & BlueShield of Mississippi to accept 10 Hospital Management Associates facilities into their provider networks.
The health companies have been beefing over money for a few months now.
Bryant had said that if the parties didn't work something out, he would step in order to ensure continuity in patient access to care.
Obviously aware of that given his chest beating about the government staying out of the affairs of private businesses, meddling with BCBS/HMA might come off as hypocritical (see his opposition to Medicaid expansion and Obamacare in general), Bryant's statement to the press reads:
"The Order issued by Gov. Bryant does not attempt to resolve the parties’ dispute over prior payments under their contracts, and it expresses no opinion and has no effect on that issue or their ongoing lawsuit. Rather, the Order is intended to preserve access to care until a full investigation is complete."
Bryant hoped the sides could come up with a resolution, but when they did not, said "as governor, I cannot sit back and allow Mississippian’s access to care to be threatened in violation of state law."
His order, good for at least 60 days, comes one day after Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney announced a deal whereby four HMA would be considered part of BCBS' network.
If the governor's actions are puzzling in that context, remember that Bryant also fought Chaney, a fellow Republican statewide officeholder, on setting up a state-based health-care exchange for the Affordable Care Act. The tiff caused the federal government to step in and set an exchange on Mississippi's behalf.
So, yeah, our governor has some control issues.