"My only concern is patient access to care."
—Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant in a letter to Blue Cross & Blue Shield CEO Carol Pigott in which he threatens to issue an executive order forcing the insurance company to accept 10 Hospital Management Associates-owned hospitals into the insurer's networks
Why it stinks: It's a government takeover of the health-care market!
OK, not in real life. But Bryant's hypocrisy is hard to ignore in light of his rationale for detesting the federal Affordable Care Act.
Health-care advocates and industry experts have estimated that taking advantage of the Medicaid expansion option of the ACA could insure 300,000 more people in Mississippi who currently lack access to care—you know, that thing Bryant claims to be preserving in the BCBS-HMA fight.
Yet, on approximately a thousand different occasions, Bryant has insisted Mississippi should distance itself as much as possible from Obamacare. His reason being that the health law is too costly and is tantamount to a government takeover that interferes with the behavior of free markets.
If that's the case, then, how does he justify sticking his gubernatorial boots in the middle of a dispute between two private companies? Bryant got a bit of a reprieve this week when state Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney announced a deal for four HMA hospitals to be recognized as part of BCBS Mississippi's provider network. That's great news for the customers of those two companies. If only our elected officials were always so proactive.