Bryant Making Big Assumption With Insurance Exchanges, Medicaid

Lucien Smith, deputy chief of staff to Gov. Phil Bryant, was on the Paul Gallo Show this morning, and one topic he addressed was the governor’s opposition to a state-run health insurance exchange.

I’ve written quite a bit about this issue, and I think the governor’s opposition is nonsensical. One talking point I’ve heard from Bryant and his staff is that the exchange would expand Medicaid in Mississippi. That has never made any logical sense to me, until now.

I’ve asked and asked, “How can an insurance exchange expand Medicaid if the Legislature doesn’t change Medicaid eligibility rules?” The answer, of course, is that they can’t. Nevertheless, what I’ve been told is that the exchange is just the first step in expanding Medicaid by force from the federal government.

Well, that clearly can’t happen. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled as such, and then there’s the 10th Amendment that also would prevent it.

But Smith’s comments to Gallo this morning clarify the issue a bit. Smith said that when people use the exchange, they will input their information and if they qualify for Medicaid it will tell them as such.

You see where he’s going?

Sam Hall
Daily Ledes