On the Gallo Radio Show this week, State Representative Gary Chism said the legislature is considering giving $30 million in tax breaks to a proposed managed care plan that would be operated by the Mississippi Hospital Association. Representative Chism is Chairman of the Insurance Committee. JJ reported last week:
Senate Bill #2441. One of the biggest stories taking place in the current session of the Mississippi Legislature. A true case of insider baseball. It's discussed by the legislators, lobbyists, consultants, and even the bureaucrats, but completely unnoticed by the media. The older reporters probably think it's a song by Chicago. The story of SB #2441 is The Mississippi Hospital Association and other groups are making a determined push to get this bill passed, as they seek to enter the HMO business and grab more Medicaid business, as well with some friendly re-writing of Mississippi health insurance laws. The bill passed both the House and Senate but with some differences.
MHA is pushing two Senate bills, #2441 and #2588. The bills are currently in conference. The $30 million assistance is not mentioned in any language currently online, but is pushed by MHA. Mr. Chism said in the interview the $30 million will be distributed as $10 million a year for three years.
*MHA said it will cost nearly $100 million a year to establish its managed care plan. However, He said MHA would still have to meet the same requirements as regular HMO's. It appears Mr. Chism did not read SB #2441 as it specifically and clearly states that the Mississippi statutes governing HMO's will not apply to MHA's little creature. The bill states that the Commissioner of Insurance will write a special set of rules just for the MHA plan. The Senate bill even removes the net worth requirement for MHA and merely says the Commissioner shall determine the capital requirements for the new HMO.
*The $30 million "tax credit" is in #2588. Mr. Chism claimed he did not know about the tax credit until Representative Steve Holland and mentioned it in the floor debate as he offered an amendment to strip it. He said that bill was a Medicaid bill and went through another committee, hence his ignorance about the tax credit. The discussion on the $30 million starts at 5:50.
*Mr. Chism says MHA "will be able to compete" with the private Medicaid managed care providers. Um, they can't compete now? They need $30 million to compete? He then says the money will stay in-state, in other words, the local argument. Its all local so its all good. Got it.
*There are similar plans in other states? Plans that get $30 million from the state and special rules?
Listen for yourself. The stream buffered a few times so just bear with the couple of dead spots. There is a long break that starts at 8:00 and ends around 14:30.