Judge Wingate grants Blue Cross/Blue Shield TRO request - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Judge Wingate grants Blue Cross/Blue Shield TRO request

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

U. S. District Judge Henry Wingate has granted Blue Cross/Blue Shield's request for a Temporary Restraining Order, preventing Governor Phil Bryant's executive order, requiring BCBS to reinstate 10 Mississippi hospitals to its network.

David Kaufman, attorney for BCBS said, "We believe and I think the judge has concluded that our constitutional rights were violated by forcing Blue Cross to continue to contract with a party whose contract they had terminated and it in affect nullifies the termination provision in the contract."

Bryant's order was due to go into effect Tuesday. Judge Wingate, who held a hearing on the TRO last Friday, has set another hearing for November 5.

Judge Wingate said the ruling does not mean he believes the governor's executive order was legally flawed. However, he wants to see the proof to back up the action that was taken. Wingate said wants more time for both sides to flesh out the facts in a full hearing.

The governor issued an executive order last week, ordering BCBS to reinstate the 10 HMA hospitals by Tuesday, October 29. BCBS, along with Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney,  asked the court to set aside Bryant's order.

Chaney's is continuing the investigation into the effects of leaving the hospitals out of Blue Cross' network. The insurance company isn't disputing that closer look.

"We're confident that when he concludes that examination, he will determine that the network is adequate as Blue Cross has," said Kaufman.

Both sides are now preparing witnesses for the November 5 hearing date.

"This is certainly part of the legal process, said Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock. "The Governor will evaluate the court's ruling and will continue to work with Attorney General Jim Hood to resolve this matter."

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