Mike Chaney letter to Gov. Phil Bryant intensifies Mississippi health insurance dispute

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is handing control of a state health insurance exchange over to the federal government by trying to block creation of a state-run exchange, Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney told the governor in a letter Friday.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter just before state offices closed Friday. In it, Chaney tells Bryant, a fellow Republican, that the federal government will run an exchange in Mississippi if the state does not create its own.

“Phil, there is simply no legitimate reason to impede the development of a state-based exchange in this point in time,” Chaney wrote.

Exchanges are online marketplaces where people can shop for insurance. Under the federal health law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010, every state is required to have an exchange so people can get coverage starting in January 2014, much of it federally subsidized. States that don’t create their own will have one run by Washington.

AP
1/4/13