Mississippi Receives $92M In Medicaid Repayments
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) on Monday said he is withdrawing plans to cut Medicaid services and raise hospital taxes because the state's budget problems will be resolved when more than $92 million in unexpected federal Medicaid repayments are received this week, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports. Barbour said a payment error made five years ago resulted in the state paying more than it should have for Medicaid, which serves about 600,000 low-income state residents. Barbour said the money was expected to arrive by wire transfer on Tuesday.
The payment of more than $92 million will provide the amount needed by the state Medicaid program to shore up its fiscal year 2009 budget. In addition, the money will allow the state to balance its budget for that year.
Mississippi legislators will meet next week to discuss the FY 2010 budget. Disagreement is expected between Democratic lawmakers and Barbour, who has said Medicaid shortfalls in the past four years have been averted because of "one-time" federal payments. Such disagreements have taken place since the federal government prohibited the way Mississippi previously paid for Medicaid, the Clarion-Ledger reports.
Barbour said, "It would be irresponsible to think another rabbit will jump out of the hat for our next budget. It is, therefore, essential the Legislature finally enact a fair, permanent, sustainable solution to funding the state share of Medicaid as it relates to hospital distributions and reimbursements." He added that he again will support increased taxes on hospitals because the facilities benefit from Medicaid payments (Chandler, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 9/9).
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