The Medicaid Tech Bill conference report was filed just minutes before the 8:00 p.m. deadline on Monday night which meant it would be Tuesday before the House or Senate would take another look at it.
On Tuesday, the Senate brought up the bill and passed it 44 to 7 with one vote of present after about an hour of debate. About two hours later the House passed the report also with a vote of 106 to 6. A few changes were made to language that was left out in the conference report, due to the hurried filing. Sen. Brice Wiggins, chair of Medicaid Committee in the Senate, offered an amendment to include language to address opioid use and highly addictive use disorders.
One of the most major issue that was holding up members of the House and Senate was the struggle over whether Mississippi True, a hospital run insurance program should have a “piece of the pie” when it comes to hospital contracts. Mississippi True previously tried to gain one of those contracts but lost out this summer to Magnolia Health, United Healthcare and Molina Healthcare. It was the Senate’s position that adding language to put Mississippi True in the game after the fact, would be an inappropriate way for legislature to get involved in the hospital contract process. The House eventually conceded on this point.
The conference report also allows for provisions to agency reimbursement for providers who cover people being treated for drug abuse, and reimbursements for rural hospitals, who have struggled financially for years.
One big question was whether or not the tech bill would increase the current limit on 12 doctor visits per year. The bill doesn’t make direct changes to increasing office visits and prescriptions allowed, it has been turned over those decisions to the Governor’s office. This was a point of contention between members as the House did not want to give control over to the Governor when the legislature has typically been a check and balance system for Medicaid.
The House held the Medicaid Budget bill on a motion to table, until the Senate made a decision on the Tech bill. This was an attempt to ensure no budget bill would be passed without a tech bill to match.
The House held the report on a motion to reconsider that will have to be lifted on Wednesday for the legislation to be sent to the Governor.
After both parties passing the Tech Bill it looks like the budget will be passed without issue, potentially preventing lawmakers from holding a Special Session to work out details.