The sudden change in direction by the Barbour administration on plans to cut Medicaid spending by $375 million is only the latest twist in a complex situation involving power politics, strategy, and the urgent need to fully fund the health care insurance program for Mississippi’s poorest residents.
The Division of Medicaid, which Barbour controls, sent a letter Wednesday to Attorney General Jim Hood saying it was working on another way to make Medicaid “whole” and cover a $90 million revenue hole. The $375 million in cuts Barbour had earlier intended to make included the lost federal matching funds.
Barbour said his new plan would make unnecessary the continuation of the gridlocked special legislative session called to resolve Medicaid funding. It is in recess until Monday, but it has been in working session off-and-on since May 21.
Legislators, divided broadly along House/Senate lines, have not been able to agree on a taxation method to close the Medicaid gap and provide for stable funding for the foreseeable future.