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Chaney deserves credit on health exchange plan

When it comes to health-related matters, Mississippi tends to be ranked worst on the list or very near it.

     Thanks to Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, this state is positioning itself well in the area of setting up a state health insurance exchange, one of the requirements of the new health care reform law. Chaney informed federal officials last week that Mississippi intends to run its own program, following federal guidelines, to help improve people’s access to health insurance.

     Chaney, a former state lawmaker from Vicksburg, has received no small amount of criticism from some fellow Republicans  – including Gov. Phil Bryant – for his efforts to push forward with exchange plans. Bryant said he was disappointed and remains concerned about any expansion of Obamacare in Mississippi.

     Many of Chaney’s critics were hopeful for a Romney presidential victory and the eventual repeal of the health care law. That did not happen.

     Now many states are scrambling to meet the health exchange requirements. Because of Chaney, Mississippi is not one of them.

     To be clear, Chaney is not a fan of Obamacare, having said he would not vote for it and thinks it should be repealed.

     However, he maintains that Mississippi will be better off having some control over its exchange program. The alternative for states that do not enact an exchange program is for the federal government to come in and up an exchange.

     Opponents may see Obamacare as some nasty medicine that states have to swallow. In the area of health exchanges, however, Chaney has made sure Mississippi hands are at least touching the spoon.