February 25, 2013 Rotogram: 31

MSU Business College

Sharon Lyon Oswald, dean, reports on the Mississippi State University College of Business and its nearly 2,500 students.

Next Week: MSU Football

Dan Mullen, MSU head football coach, speaks next week.

For the Record—February 18

Invocation and Pledge:      Rodney Foil

Attendance:                                   48.74%

Present — 92 (33 exempt, 1 honorary)

Absent — 83 (12 exempt, 10 honorary)

Guests: Guests of members were Amanda Parrish of Frank Chiles, John Guyton of Mark Guyton, John McWhirter of Joe Thompson, Katherine Little of Carrie-Beth Randall and Matt Matthews of Don Trotter. Guests of the Club were Drew Weiskopf, Joseph Ammerman, Lindy Nelson, Sandy Ray and Giulia Martinoli, RYE student.

Meeting Notes

  • Roy Ruby accepted the Club’s donation on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club of Oktibbeha County.
  • Members were reminded to fill out update forms for a new club directory.
  • President Debra reported that Omis Avant needs a ride to meetings for a few weeks as his wife Beverly recuperates from a fall. Stan Miller volunteered.

Membership Action

CORRECTION: The board accepted with regret the resignation of Buddy Staggers, not Sammy Slaughter as reported.

On the Calendar

Australian Group Study Exchange

April 14-15

District Conference

April 19-21   Memphis

ROTARY AND TAXES

Treasurer Clay Richardson reminds members that for those who pay their dues with personal funds, the tax deductible portion of the club fees is $126. Additionally, whatever is paid in Paul Harris Fellow contributions (normally $100) is deductible. Thus, $226 is the amount most Rotarians should claim on their tax returns.

Reading Schedule

Between the Lions2/26······························ Jeff Donald – Emerson Family Resource Center

02/28····· Melissa Dixon – First Presbyterian

Andy Gaston – Brickfire

Next week:

03/05········· Jeff Donald and Martha Wells

03/07····························· Sarah Fratesi

See the statewide news feature Rotary partnerships help early childhood literacy at:

msucares.com/news/print/fcenews/fce13/20130214_rotary.html

 Commissioner Addresses Health Insurance Controversies and Complexities

February 18 — A proposed state health insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion have created a political tangle for Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.

Former Governor Haley Barbour sold him on the state-based, free market style exchange idea in 2007. “I never dreamed it would become federal law in 2010,” he said.

The situation has set him at loggerheads with Governor Phil Bryant and the state legislature who refuse to expand Medicaid coverage as mandated in the 2010 Patient Protection Affordable Care Act.

“My staff are all here today because they’re afraid I might say something inappropriate about somebody in state government,” quipped the second-term commissioner. “Well, reasonable people should be able to disagree. I think the governor is wrong.

“I said, ‘Phil, if we do what you want and embrace the federal exchange beginning October 1, you’re going to embrace the very thing you’re against — Federal dictates’,” stressed Chaney.

“As your commissioner, I can do nothing and let the Feds take over. Or, I can cut a deal where I can still manage the policies that are sold on the federal exchange,” he said. “I can make a decision to do nothing and be better off politically, or I can bite the bullet and do what I think is in the best interest of the state.”

Although, under a shared system, he would have some degree of control, he would have to answer consumer complaints on plans that he does not control, and on rates that he does not set

“I’ll be blamed for everything just like I am for the coast flood programs where rates have gone up 20 to 25 percent since January 1,” he said. “Like I am for Medicare or Medicaid which I don’t control.”

The governor and legislature think the Medicaid expansion will break the budget in 2018 when the state begins to pay the match.  Chaney advocates putting most people on the exchange to avoid adding to Medicaid rolls.

In its letter rejecting Chaney’s proposed insurance exchange, the Department of Health and Human Services cited the “inability to work with Medicaid at the order of the governor.”

Maintaining that the current options are only a short term fix, Chaney said the long term solution is an exchange where individuals pay more for risky behavior. And, people enrolled in health planning programs would get added benefit.

Chaney fired his strongest remarks at the Tea Party saying, “I don’t know if you have some Tea Party folks in here, but it is about to ruin the Republican Party. You have lost the core values of what this country is all about when you want to disavow the rule of law.”

“It’s alright to disagree with your country, but it is our country,” he continued. “When you take public office, you take an oath to obey the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Mississippi. I may not like it, but I’m going to do it. I didn’t want to go to Viet Nam, but I went. You obey the law, but work to change it through the legislative process.”

Explaining the Department of Insurance, the 1966 MSU Business and Finance alumnus said his unit generates $230 million per year for the state. Some of that money is special funds on which the department operates. His budget has grown from $9.8 million to $12 million due to increased duties. In particular, the Fire Marshall Division now has 50 people of whom 27 are law enforcement officers authorized for arson investigations.

Topping the Fire Marshall’s responsibilities are managing manufactured homes, LP gas regulation, burglar alarms with punch key codes, fire alarms and fireworks on public property. The office reviews architects plans and inspects all public buildings as they are constructed.

On the insurance side he has 83 staffers to regulate property, casualty and life insurance.

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