Report Highlights Medicaid Developments In Three States

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Summaries of news relatedto Medicaid programs in Mississippi, South Dakota and Wyomingappear below.


  • Mississippi: Mississippi Medicaid Director Robert Robinson on Tuesday said the state Medicaid program will have to eliminate some services if it does not receive $168 million in additional funding for fiscal year 2009, the AP/Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports. The program also needs $86 million to continue operations this year. State legislators met with Robinson on Tuesday to discuss ways to streamline the Medicaid budget to avoid cutting services. Lawmakers say they have less than $200 million to address more than $500 million in additional funding requests for FY 2009. In addition, Gov. Haley Barbour (R) has asked that Robinson develop a spending proposal for FY 2009 that is 2.5% less than the current budget. State House Public Health Committee Chair Steve Holland (D) said that lawmakers will look at health care providers and how the agency can better deliver services and that new sources of revenue, through taxes or fee assessments, will be considered. The State Joint Legislative Committee released its spending recommendations on Wednesday. Part of the Medicaid shortfall is the result of using one-time funds, including $47.6 million in Hurricane Katrina funds and $40 million from the state's health care trust fund (Byrd, AP/Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 12/5).

  • South Dakota: Gov. Mike Rounds (R) on Tuesday said he supports expanding Medicaid benefits to low-income pregnant women, but the state cannot afford the expansion at this time, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports. A report presented by the Zaniya Health Care Task Force, created by the last state Legislature, recommended that Medicaid eligibility rules be changed to include more low-income pregnant women. Rounds said he supports increasing eligibility limits to include pregnant women with incomes less than 200% of the federal poverty level, but the estimated cost of doing so, $4 million, is prohibitive. The expansion would allow an additional 1,400 women to qualify for the program, according to Rounds. However, Rounds said some of the lower-cost task force recommendations could be implemented now (Woster, Sioux FallsArgus Leader, 12/5).

  • Wyoming: The state Medicaid program would save $15 million in the fifth year after all state residents quit smoking, according to a study funded by the American Legacy Foundation, the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reports. The study, conducted by RTI International and lead by health economist Justin Trogdon, analyzed the cost impact of all and portions of smokers in the state quitting within five years. For each 24-year-old male who does not smoke, the Wyoming Medicaid program saves $30 annually, and for each 24-year-old female who does not smoke, the program saves $1,097 annually, the study shows. The study also found that Medicaid would save $9.7 billion nationwide if all smokers successfully quit (McCarthy, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, 12/5).

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