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Mississippi Health Exchange Application Rejected by Obama

Mississippi’s application to run its own health-insurance exchange was denied by the Obama administration, which cited a dispute between the state’s insurance commissioner and governor over the federal Affordable Care Act.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will reject the application and encourage the state to instead join a federal partnership for running the exchanges, an agency official said in an e-mail.

“With a lack of support from your governor and no formal commitment to coordinate from other state agencies, we do not see a feasible pathway to conditionally approving a state-based exchange,” Gary Cohen, director of the department’s Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said in a letter to Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.

Chaney had submitted a bid to build one of the insurance markets as part of the Affordable Care Act without the support of Governor Phil Bryant, who opposes the health law and didn’t want to help enact it. Chaney and Bryant are both Republicans.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Wayne in Washington at awayne3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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