Chaney cites problems in new health care law

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, December 2, 2010

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney offered criticism ofthe new health care law Wednesday, calling it a socialistredistribution of medical care revenue that fails to address realissues regarding coverage.

Speaking to the Brookhaven Kiwanis Club, Chaney said the new lawsets up insurance exchanges for people to be able to choose thelevel of coverage they desire. The first-term Republicanoffice-holder said that was an idea from his party.

“The better plan you buy, the more you’re going to pay,” Chaneysaid.

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The problem in the Democrat-passed law, however, is that ittakes revenue from payroll deductions for Medicare and allocates itto provide subsidies to help those making up to 400 percent ofpoverty level get insurance. Chaney indicated that could be a largeportion of Mississippi’s population.

Chaney said the difficulty there is that taking revenue fromMedicare will result in fewer services available to the elderly. Hesuggested that is just one aspect of the law that makes itproblematic.

“The whole thing gets so complicated and messed up, it getsbroken,” Chaney said.

Chaney, one of 12 elected insurance commissioners in the nation,was one of more than 30 state insurance officials to meet withPresident Obama in September.

Chaney described the meeting as productive. He quipped theadministration has been easier to work with since Nov. 2, whenRepublicans won a majority in the House of Representatives.

Chaney credited his staff in their efforts in preparing toimplement the health care law and a good working relationship withthe Department of Health and Human Services.

“We’re kind of ahead of the curve on other states,” Chaneysaid.

Chaney also discussed various aspects of his office, includingarson investigations.

The commissioner said his office has about a 50 percentconviction rate. However, the important message in prosecutions isthe effect they have on reducing similar activity.

“We’re coming to get you,” Chaney warned those who may beconsidering burning their homes to collect insurance money.