The Clarion-Ledger Editorial, 7/13/8

Unless either House Democrats or Republican Gov. Haley Barbour retreat from current positions over the next three weeks, Mississippi Medicaid recipients could begin feeling massive budget cuts as soon as Aug. 4.

Barbour notified the state’s Medicaid providers on Friday of his intention to cut $34.5 million per month from the program beginning Aug. 6 – just 23 days from today – if the Legislature doesn’t pass his proposed $167-per-day tax on state hospitals.

But House Democrats and a spokesman for the Mississippi Hospital Association say it’s unlikely that Barbour can get federal approval to cut the Medicaid program within his stated 23-day window.

Following an as-yet-unsuccessful special legislative session that has cost taxpayers almost $600,000, Barbour has called the lawmakers back to Jackson beginning Aug. 4 to continue the already bitter Medicaid funding debate.