One year ago today:
Category Archives: Haley Barbour
Rewind One-Year: Speculation beginning for possible replacement to Senator Thad Cochran | Mississippi PEP
Editors Note: The following is an excerpt from Bill Crawford’s latest commentary. His suggestion that Gov. Bryant go along with a policy move, because former Gov. Barbour supported it negates a growing body of evidence that Medicaid expansion, and the state insurance exchange, is bad business. He also seems to forget that Barbour could be quite “oppressive” and, in Crawford’s words, “tyrannical” in his politics. It all depends on whose side your own. Apparently Crawford likes to dream of a “softer, gentler” Barbour administration, especially if it helps him make a point.
There has been no indication that either the House or Senate has votes enough to pass Medicaid expansion if given the chance. Neither body could overturn a certain gubernatorial veto.
Why, then, the heavy hand oppressing House Democrats’ desire to debate the issue and the governor’s overt threat to take over Medicaid?
Earlier the governor single-handedly killed the state insurance exchange developed by Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney that would have helped the uninsured gain coverage. Former Gov. Haley Barbour thought state controlled exchanges were good government.
Resistance to Medicaid expansion and Obamacare is one thing. Power plays that oppress free and open debate and good government are quite another, and display a taint liberty resists.
Gov. Phil Bryant on Tuesday was in Brookhaven, touring a nursing home, pleading his case on Medicaid with workers and patients — something he plans to do across the state in the next few weeks.
Taking it outside the capital and to the streets — that’s a political move out of former Gov. Haley Barbour’s handbook. It’s notable that the first stop on his Medicaid Mystery Tour was in the backyard of House Democratic Minority Leader Bobby Moak, his chief opponent in the Medicaid standoff.
But Medicaid expansion opponents are doing the same thing, with a “Bridging the Gap Statewide Listening Tour” recently kicked off in Hattiesburg and headed to Tupelo and Oxford.
Bryant is also saying that if lawmakers can’t reach agreement and reauthorize the Medicaid program — without expanding it — by July 1, then he’ll try to run it by executive order, something Democrats have said for months he cannot legally do, since the Legislature hasn’t reauthorized or funded the program for the coming year. Expect litigation, if that comes to pass.
via Read More.
- Division of Medicaid preparing to notify beneficiaries of loss of coverage. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)
- Bryant Says He Could Run Medicaid (wtok.com)
- Gov. Bryant says special session will deal with economic development, not Medicaid. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)
- Gov. Bryant says Obama move to delay cuts to hospitals should clear the way for Medicaid reauthorization. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)
- Gov. Bryant: Dems playing political game with lives of 641,194 needy Mississippians. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)
Former DNC Chair and Virginia Guv candidate ties to Barbour and Mississippi “green jobs” project questioned.
GreenTech CEO Charles Wang accepted (Terry) McAuliffe’s resignation in a letter dated Dec. 1, thanking him “for providing vision which helped found the company’s core values encompassing green technology, affordability and job creation.”
Since then, The Associated Press and other news organizations have scrutinized GreenTech’s efforts to begin production of the tiny MyCar electric vehicles at two northern Mississippi sites.
McAuliffe purchased GreenTech from the Chinese government in 2009. He pledged to move production of its golf cart-sized MyCar electrical vehicles to the United States.
Last July, former President Bill Clinton — a longtime friend for whom McAuliffe was a campaign fundraiser — and Republican former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour joined McAuliffe for the opening of a GreenTech production site in part of a former elevator factory in Horn Lake, Miss., a suburb of Memphis, Tenn.
Few cars have rolled off the Horn Lake assembly line, critics allege, and a large tract of Delta farmland in Tunica County, Miss., about 30 miles to the southwest, that GreenTech purchased for a 300,000 square-foot permanent factory has not progressed beyond site preparation.
McAuliffe claimed last fall that the project went to Mississippi after Virginia showed no interest in GreenTech and never bid for a factory. Records AP obtained, however, documented that Virginia economic development officials showed GreenTech representatives several prospective sites, but got too few details from the company about the venture to secure Virginia incentives.
An Oxford man pardoned by Gov. Haley Barbour in 2012 has been sentenced to serve eight years in prison for causing the death of an 18-year-old woman.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that 57-year-old Harry Russ Bostick pleaded guilty Friday in circuit court in Pontotoc County that he was under the influence of alcohol when his Ford truck struck the car of Charity Smith and killed her on Oct. 7, 2011, on U.S. Highway 278. Smith’s sister was injured.
Bostick had been indicted on three counts.
Judge James L. Roberts Jr. sentenced him to 15 years with seven suspended, five years’ post-release supervision and ordered him to pay Smith’s funeral costs.
Last January, just before Barbour went out of office, he issued pardons, clemencies and other leniency for more than 200 people. Among them was Bostick.
BY: B. Keith Plunkett @Keithplunkett
The Mississippi Board of Pharmacy is a state regulatory body established in 1920 by the Mississippi Legislature given the job of regulating and licensing pharmacists across the state.
Few people would say there exists an industry more ripe for potential abuses and in need of a watchful eye than that of the pharmaceutical industry. However, as is many times the case with regulatory bodies, the coziness of it’s board and staff with the industry they are meant to regulate can often also be the subject of abuse. In fact, a close look at a regulatory change made with the Board of Pharmacy in 2011, shows that the board members are in some cases directly competing with the industry they regulate.
In 2011, SB 2445 reauthorized the Board of Pharmacy as the regulatory authority for pharmacists. But, the bill went a step further. It also gave the board a new regulatory responsibility, one that most health insurance experts agree will eventually cost Mississippi seniors and employers who provide drug benefits to employees.
SB 2445 took regulatory authority of Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBM’s, away from the Mississippi Insurance Department and handed that authority over to the Board of Pharmacy. This was a first in the nation, and to date no other state has made such a move.
What are PBM’s?
PBM’s are one way that Mississippi employers have helped lower the cost of prescription drugs for employees. PBM’s give employers and health insurance plans the ability to offer high-quality, cost effective prescription drug benefits to enrollees, while improving the safety and quality of the pharmacy benefit for workers by negotiating for lower prices.
It would be easy to assume that the Board of Pharmacy as a handling authority of PBM’s is logical, if not necessary. But a closer look shows that the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy regulation of PBM’s presents a major conflict of interest that leaves Mississippi workers and Medicare seniors footing a much larger drug bill. In essence, the change in authority gave drugstore owners the ability to regulate PBM’s that negotiate drugstore payments, and the result is increased health care costs to Mississippians.
In simple terms, the fox is guarding the henhouse and making out like a bandit.
What this means is that the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy will financially benefit from the policies they set. The board members, as pharmacists in the industry themselves, have contractual relationships with PBM’s to provide services in pharmacy networks, and many times are also competitors of the PBM’s that they regulate. The current system allows the board to manipulate the health care system to increase pharmacy profits at the expense of consumers of these plans. Nothing could be a worse idea for health care consumers in our state.
PBM’s already face multiple compliance and licensure requirements to protect consumers. Reducing this restrictive regulation allows for a common sense approach and keeps members of the Board of Pharmacy honest.
Regulatory changes like these are often the result of unintended consequences. But, legislators had fair warning from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and decided to side with drugstore owners instead.
In a letter to Mississippi State Representative Mark Formby in 2011, the FTC warned that a bill shifting regulatory authority of PBMs from the Mississippi Insurance Commissioner to the Board of Pharmacy “may increase pharmaceutical prices and reduce competition.” The FTC also stated that the Mississippi legislature should “seriously consider whether there are benefits to consumers from the additional, more restrictive regulations in the bill that would outweigh the competitive harm and consumer costs.”
But, legislators moved ahead anyway and Governor Barbour signed the bill, setting up Mississippi’s already cash-strapped seniors and workers for the fall.
The Mississippi Legislature should move in the 2013 session to disallow the continued problematic role of the Board of Pharmacy’s regulatory authority over PBM’s. Putting pharmacy profits ahead of employers and their employees is an abuse that shouldn’t be tolerated. We have quite enough issues with health care expenses in Mississippi than to allow drugstore owners to pile on.
About Keith: Keith Plunkett has worked on communications issues with a range of public officials from aldermen to Congressmen, and a variety of businesses, governmental agencies and non-profits. He serves or has served as a board member of several non-profit, civic and political organizations. Contact him by going to HorizonMediaMarketing.com or follow him on Twitter @Keithplunkett
The state of Mississippi settled a lawsuit Tuesday with Twin Creeks, a California solar panel company that went out of business after the state spent $27.7 million to construct a building for the business in Senatobia and buy equipment, The Associated Press has learned.
“I believe we will make a full recovery of state tax dollars through this settlement,” Gov. Phil Bryant told The Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the settlement from Bryant’s office. “The Mississippi Development Authority is eagerly marketing the building for a new high tech industry to provide jobs and income to the citizens of Senatobia,” Bryant said in a statement.
Bryant denied the company’s request for another $25 million from the state and sought to get money back from Twin Creeks quickly, said his spokesman, Mick Bullock.
Until the state leases Twin Creeks’ building in Senatobia and sells its used equipment, it appears unlikely the state will get all its money back, though.
The agreement states that Twin Creeks will immediately pay back $1.25 million and that the state will get rights to $10 million in possible royalties over time. Mississippi will also get rights to sue an equipment maker that Twin Creeks says made a defective piece of equipment.
Finally, the state will get a share of any money that Twin Creeks receives from a lawsuit filed by a more famous solar firm that went bust, Solyndra. Twin Creeks says it has antitrust claims against Chinese solar panel makers that parallel those made by Solyndra in a $1.5 billion lawsuit Solyndra filed in October. Solyndra went bankrupt owing the federal government $535 million, sparking criticism of President Barack Obama’s energy policies.
The company promised to create 500 jobs in 2010, when Gov. Haley Barbour persuaded the Legislature to loan the company $50 million at no interest for 20 years.
Governor Bryant wants investment in companies with “record of achievement”, Barbour defends his record.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says he’d prefer that the state not invest in startup companies like failed solar equipment firm Twin Creeks. The Republican says he’s steering the Mississippi Development Authority away from loaning or giving money to such companies.
“I do not have a preference for startup companies,” Bryant told The Associated Press Friday. “I am conservative because of my audit background and would look more toward companies such as Nissan, Severstal, heavy manufacturing companies with a background in the industry, a clear record of achievement. That would be more of a targeted industry for this administration.”
In a separate phone interview with AP, Bryant’s predecessor, Republican Haley Barbour, defended the state’s $27.7 million investment in Twin Creeks, a San Jose, Calif., firm that’s liquidating after a bank pushed the company into selling its technology. The company was supposed to invest $132 million and create 500 jobs in Senatobia.
The state signed its incentive deal with Twin Creeks in April 2010, when Barbour was governor. His second term expired in January 2012.
Voters in 27 south Mississippi counties will be faced Nov. 6 with a choice between incumbent Mike Randolph and challenger Talmadge “Tal” Braddock for one of the nine justice positions on the state Supreme Court.
Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Randolph, 65, to serve the unexpired term of former Chief Justice Ed Pittman in April 2004. He was elected to another eight-year term that November.
Braddock, 42, of Hattiesburg said he will bring needed diversity to the court if elected in the nonpartisan race. “The court is stacked with corporate defense lawyers, so even if you do get a verdict in the lower court, they’ll take it away from you at the Supreme Court,” he said.