Miss. State Medicaid Program at Risk of Failure

Image: Miss. State Medicaid Program at Risk of Failure A lawmaker checks figures during a hearing on Obamacare Medicaid expansion before the House Medicaid Committee at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss.

Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013 12:38 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Mississippi's Medicaid program is at risk of collapsing on July 1 because of a standoff among legislators over expanding the program under Obamacare.

According to Politico
, the Republican-led legislature failed to renew the Medicaid budget before adjourning in April because of a partisan standoff over whether to expand Medicaid as called for under Obamacare.

The expansion would use federal funds to cover an additional 300,000 low-income residents in addition to the 700,000 already covered.

"It appears to me that the Republican leadership could give a flip less about the working poor of the state of Mississippi," state Rep. Steve Holland, a Democrat, told Politico.

But it's the Democrats who are demanding a vote on expansion before moving ahead with renewal of the current Medicaid program.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has the option of calling a special legislative session to approve a budget, but divisions are so deep-seated among the legislators that he's reportedly considering an executive order that would bypass the legislature and give his office the authority to run the Medicaid program.

In the meantime, hospitals and nursing homes are worried about the loss of funds on July 1.

"We continue encouraging Mississippi legislators to come to an agreement quickly to fund the existing Medicaid program beyond June 30 so it does not cause any disruption in services to our nursing-home residents," Vanessa Phipps Henderson, executive director of the Mississippi Health Care Association, told Politico.

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