The Medicaid deficit of $90 million that legislators and Gov. Haley Barbour are struggling to repair is far from being the largest shortfall in the state’s history.
It’s not even close.
In the 2005 session, which was Barbour’s second, legislators had to deal with a whopping $268 million deficit in the Division of Medicaid.
That deficit was taken up in the middle of the fiscal year without Barbour making any cuts to the agency. Legislators did make $28 million in cuts, but the rest of the deficit was erased by taking $240 million from the Tobacco Trust Fund.
The Legislature currently is in special session to, among other things, deal with the $90 million Medicaid shortfall. The difference between now and 2005 is that Barbour and the Legislature dealt with the earlier deficit in regular session in the middle of the fiscal year.