Press Release: Senate Bill 2323
Violates Mississippi GOP Platform on Healthcare
The MS Senate is in the process of debating Senate Bill 2323. The bill would specifically allow the government-owned University of Mississippi Medical Center to buy out rural and community hospitals. The bill would exclude the state from any anti-competitive laws providing a pathway for the state to have a complete monopoly on medical services provided by hospitals in the state. The original version of the bill includes language on line 335 that states the legislature understands that the bill is anti-free-market and impacts competition, but they believe that it is necessary for the “benefits of collaboration.”
The original bill also would have also allowed UMMC to make contributions to political committees to further pay off the politicians wanting to pass this bill, although this provision was removed in the committee substitute.
Mississippi Freedom Caucus Chairman Dana Criswell said of the bill:
“This is an attempt at a complete government takeover of our hospital system in Mississippi. This will create a huge government protected monopoly, driving out competition and ultimately putting private hospitals out of business.”
The bill has not yet passed the Senate, as of the writing of the release, and there is discussion of an amendment to include private hospitals in the bill, but it appears that Lt. Gov. Delbert is against the amendment.
Even with the private hospital amendment, it may not provide protection for private hospitals, with the State being shielded from anti-competition laws.
There is nothing good about this bill, which was introduced by a Republican in a Republican supermajority Senate, being led by a Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann. According to the Mississippi Republican (GOP) website, Republicans should hold a view of free markets in healthcare, stating “We can have an affordable, accessible and quality health care system by empowering individuals and families, promoting free-market competition.” This bill is anything but free-market and the Republicans pushing it seem to be anything but Republicans.