Q & A with Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant

Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican elected in 2011, has been a vocal opponent of the 2010 health law. KHN correspondent Phil Galewitz sat down with him at his office in Jackson, Miss., last week. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.

KHN: Why do you oppose setting up a state health insurance exchange?

BRYANT: Prior to the Supreme Court ruling, all of us Republicans across the nation believed this was a failed law, a law that would drive up health insurance costs, a law that would causes taxes to go up on employers and cause all Americans to have to buy a product in a marketplace at the insistence of the federal government, and [you] could be punished for your inactivity. I am against the foundation that it rests on. This is a terrible law that continues to be flawed. The Supreme Court decision, which people believed changed everything, said one, there is a tax, which the president had been denying since the beginning, that it will cause costs for employers to go up, but also states cannot be forced to expand Medicaid. I believe that this is a bait and switch, where they say here is $20 million and you form a state insurance exchange. Let the governor sit idly by in Mississippi and say nothing and that exchange will inherently determine if you deserve a subsidy, but also can automatically take you to Medicaid.

Kaiser Health News