Sunday, March 19, 2023

Bill Crawford: Governor Erupts Over Uncontroversial Bill

 Senate Bill 2224 introduced by Sen. Kevin Blackwell of Southaven passed the Senate by a unanimous vote. After adopting amendments, the bill passed the House by a vote of 111 to 5. The Senate unanimously concurred with the House amendments and sent the apparently uncontroversial bill to Gov. Tate Reeves for approval.

On Wednesday of last week, Reeves vetoed the bill and sent the Legislature a stern message: 

“SB 2224 would empower the (Insurance) Commissioner to invalidate the terms of contracts between private parties and make the Commissioner the rate czar for healthcare in Mississippi.” The message further claimed the bill would “erode the free market in exchange for bureaucratic control,” violate state constitution provisions prohibiting impairment of contracts, and violate provisions of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing due process.

Wow! Who knew the Republican majority in the Senate and House were so ignorant that they would overwhelmingly pass such a defective law?

Sen. Blackwell, who chairs the Senate Medicaid Committee and serves as a member of the Senate Insurance Committee, Sen. J. Walter Michel of Ridgeland who chairs the Senate Insurance Committee, Rep. Henry Zuber III of Ocean Springs who chairs the House Insurance Committee, and other members of those committees should be ashamed for wanting to empower a czar, erode free markets, and violate constitutions.

Or maybe not.

Another section of the Governor’s veto message sheds some light: “Senate Bill 2224 was no doubt motivated by the recent and highly publicized contractual impasse between a large healthcare provider and the largest private insurer in the state.” 

Oh, so this has roots in the dispute between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi Medical Center?


Commissioner of Insurance Mike Chaney was in favor of the bill. He said it would give his office the authority to look into possible payment discrepancies among healthcare insurance providers. 

Speaking to the North Jackson Rotary Club last week, he described this scenario. A Southaven resident insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee gets a lower insurance payment for treatment by a Southaven provider than for the same treatment provided by a Memphis provider. The only difference is BCBS Tennessee would transfer administration of the claim to BCBS Mississippi. Chaney said he wants to know what happens to the difference in payments. SB 2224, he said, would give him authority to look into it.

State law already designates the Commissioner as the regulator over insurance providers with an additional mission to protect consumers. Blackwell’s bill is intended to help the Commissioner accomplish that mission.

The Governor citing the BCBS dispute with UMMC in his  prodigious veto message raises questions. Does the state’s “largest private insurer” oppose giving Commissioners such authority?

It will be interesting to see if the Governor’s rant keeps all those supportive legislators from overriding his veto.

Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” – James 1:22.


Anonymous said...

Did Tater get some bad advice from his legislative people?

Anonymous said...

Symbolic and stupid veto. More than enough votes to override it. Tot just throwing a tantrum.

Anonymous said...

Chaney is just a good ole' boy from Tupelo attempting to remain relevant to other good ole' boys telling him to lean on BCBS. Chaney should shut them all up and just stay in his lane. No fan of Tater, but he's right on this one.

Anonymous said...

To say the health insurance market is a "free market" is pretty comical.

Anonymous said...

Check the campaign finance reports. As always.

Anonymous said...

12:02. Bozo. Talk about being relevant. Chaney is from Vicksburg moron.

Anonymous said...

Erupts? KF, is that the headline Crawford provided?

Kingfish said...


Anonymous said...

the insurance commissioner has authority to investigate a carrier to prevent discrimination between insureds under identical contracts. I doubt that office has the authority to interfere with contractual relations between two different carriers, such as BCBS MS and BCBS TN.

Some legislators thought it was a good idea to let a government department regulate contracts between parties, but that does not mean the Constitutional provision that prohibits that is just a "bad idea." The Governor and legislators are all sworn into office with a vow to follow the Constitution of the State of Mississippi. Come to think if it, so is the Insurnace Commissioner.

Anonymous said...

"The message (from the governor) further claimed the bill would “erode the free market in exchange for bureaucratic control.”

When the governor signed the so-called "electric car sales prohibition bill", isn't that exactly what that bill, now law, does?

{Erodes the free market in exchange for bureaucratic control}

If I were Stokes, I'd be wondering, "Is the gubnor smokin' dat dope?"

Anonymous said...

the car sales bill doesn't interfere with terms of a contract as the insurance pricing authority bill would have done. The bill does not put some elected official in a position to undo existing agreements.

the car sales bill puts the state in the position of prohibiting a certain form of car distribution. If laissez-faire were to apply in every circumstance, the car sales bill definitely violates that principle in creating a barrier to contracting for car distribution.

Anonymous said...

@3:21pm - Depends on which particular campaign donor defines as “eroding the free market in exchange for bureaucratic control” in a particular situation. If it helps campaign donor, all for bureaucracy, if it hurts them, then to hell with bureaucratic control! The “small/limited government” and “freedom” bs the republicans spew as talking points are only hot air to whip the ignorant masses into a frenzy to get to to overlook what’s actually happening.

Doesn’t matter if this is plastered on every billboard and run on every tv commercial, the average American is either too stupid or too lazy to understand (or simply doesn’t care) what’s going on. So the politicians will continue to operate as they please, constituents be damned (other than the donor class).

Anonymous said...

One Term Tate has no one to guide him since Rush Limbaugh died. He's working hard to usher in the first Democrat Governor since Ronnie.

Anonymous said...

It’s painful watching the bright minds of the Republican Party that have kept this state is last place for my entire life. The poor education has consequences.

Anonymous said...

Bill - nice try, but

You state, without any support that "State law already designates the Commissioner as the regulator over insurance providers with an additional mission to protect consumers. Blackwell’s bill is intended to help the Commissioner accomplish that mission."

What you fail to say, as you run your dribble, that State law does NOT designate the Commissioner as the regulator over insurance providers of HOSPITAL/MEDICAL insurance. That was the purpose and reason for this new statute.

It must be nice for you to live in your world where you can pontificate on things like this, through out a few lines that are factual - as long as you don't include the details - in support of what your position on the issue is.

Whether the Insurance Commissioner SHOULD be allowed to be the regulator of these companies was the basis for this law. Is it a good idea? Maybe - might depend on the Commissioner (which will not be Chaney forever, but I digress.)

But to throw out this line as a fact to support your position is a great example of absolute worthless "journalism" - hell, you might as well apply to be the Executive Editor of Mississippi Today with this attitude, trying to claim your 'journalism' while using your 750 words to sell your snake oil.

I have mixed feelings about this bill; kinda agree with Chaney, kinda agree with Reeves. But I have no problem disagreeing with your faunting over Chaney, just as you did following his Rotary speech while he proclaimed to protect your state health insurance as a former state employee.

Surely you can be just a little more straight forward with your writing than this, and not try to claim the office has this authority when the reason for the bill was to GIVE him the authority.

But then again, we all realize that the only reason for your writing this weekly column was to try to take ONE MORE shot at Tate, an individual you would do anything and everything you could possibly find to do to demean.

You failed this time.

Anonymous said...

5:35 - Since republicans have been 'in charge' your entire lifetime, can we assume you're 25? Tell mom hello.

Anonymous said...

Tate takes his orders for Ron DeSantis. Tate will be his Treasury Secretary.

Anonymous said...


5:35 is correctly including Dixiecrats in the “Republicans in control” line. I mean, they are the same people.

Anonymous said...

"Tate takes his orders for Ron DeSantis. Tate will be his Treasury Secretary."

Did somebody mention "smokin' dat dope"?

And Fynn Litch will be Attorney General, right?

Kingfish for Press Secretary with Chaney as head of HHS.

I could go on, but I'm out of dope.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has BCBS of Alabama and had Mississippi BCBS cut my coverage so I'm paying for physician ordered "tests" and recommended regular tests like colono and paying for or having to fight to get prescriptions, even an EpiPen approved, it's about damn time somebody looked into MSBCBS and how neighboring States are using that crooked group to do their " paperwork".
I was stunned that BCBS had a osteopath second guess my allergist without even looking at my records apparently or their own ( which would include ER visit for epinephrine for anaphylactic reaction.
And, MSBCBS only approves a " generic" that is from the scandal ridden plant in India for one of my meds. I had to jump hoops to pay full price for my doctor's recommendation.
I'm certain, however, that the executives at MSBCBS are making lots more money in salary and bonuses if their lifestyles are any indication!

Anonymous said...

@6:40 - You don't get to use your bias to define party alignment.

Nobody in office today or for the past 40 years has run as a Dixie-crat.

They're either Republican or Democrat (in our statehouse), and Republicans have been in the majority for less than 30 years. Fordice began the approaching republican-wave when he took Musgrove to the wood shed.

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