The ongoing battle between Health Management Associates and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi presents a challenging situation where what should be a private business dispute is jeopardizing the access of thousands of people to health care services and therefore making the case for some sort of government intervention.
Gov. Phil Bryant, joined by Attorney General Jim Hood, have taken the first steps toward possible intervention. Bryant has informed BCBS that if a resolution isn’t forthcoming, he will use executive authority to force all 10 HMA hospitals back in-network. Bryant and Hood seem to agree that BCBS poses an anti-trust threat to health care and insurance in Mississippi, thus giving the governor the ability to take unilateral action.
While BCBS is seeking a court injunction blocking any such move, the truth is that Bryant should never have been involved in the first place. He’s only doing so now because of the situation in which BCBS and HMA have left the people of Mississippi.