Barbour compares Blue Cross, HMA conflict to healthcare act, tort reform

Former Gov. Haley Barbour’s initial response to a question about the dispute between Health Management Associates and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi was that he was not an expert on the situation’s minutia.

His response therafter was more direct.

“When I ran for governor the first time, we had a healthcare crisis in Mississippi because hospitals and doctors were getting sued, and a lot of them eventually closed,” he said. “What Blue Cross is doing is similar to that.”

Barbour’s comments came after his keynote address to Downtown Jackson Partners’ annual meeting and awards banquet.

Barbour is of counsel for Butler Snow, the lawfirm representing HMA, but is not directly involved in the litigation. He said providers being removed from Blue Cross’ network could cause consumers all manner of problems, including having to switch doctors or healthcare facilities.

“And isn’t that one of the principal things we’re complaining about when it comes to Obamacare?” he said, referring to the Affordable Care Act.

Clarion Ledger