Health insurance exchange flips and flops

JACKSON — When talk first started about Mississippi creating a health insurance exchange to allow people to shop and get the best price for insurance, many Mississippi Democrats privately expressed opposition.

Under President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, states have the option to establish an exchange. But if states do not, the federal government will set it up and run it.

Many Mississippi Democrats said they would prefer the federal government run the exchange instead of the state. They expressed fear that the state’s Republican leadership would establish exchanges that did not provide the best health options for those shopping there.

But now that Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney is establishing an exchange as is the state’s option under the Affordable Care Act, many of the state’s Republicans leaders, including Gov. Phil Bryant, are voicing opposition.

The Democrats, though, appear to be in support.

It is funny how this issue flip flops. Former Republican Gov. Haley Barbour was a strong supporter of health insurance exchanges and no Republican leader expressed opposition. Barbour felt the exchange was a good idea that should be run by state leaders instead of the federal government. Through the years that has been a consistent Republican position.

But now that some Democrats are for the exchanges, some Republicans are opposed.

It gets confusing.