Judge Set to Rule in Bryant, Blue Cross Dispute

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Jackson, Miss. A federal judge says he intends to rule Monday in a dispute between Mississippi's largest health insurer and Gov. Phil Bryant.

U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate heard arguments Friday in a lawsuit Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi filed to try to block an executive order that Bryant issued Tuesday.

Bryant's order would make Blue Cross resume paying in-network rates at hospitals owned by Health Management Associates.

Blue Cross is asking Wingate to issue a temporary restraining order, which would allow the insurer to ignore the governor's command.

Bryant ordered the hospitals returned to Blue Cross' network by Oct. 29. Bryant says without the hospitals, Blue Cross would have an insufficient network under state law.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says his power is illegally usurped by Bryant's order.