Judge asked to block hearing

Attorneys are asking a Hinds County Chancery Court judge to halt a Friday hearing on the cuts and the implementation of the proposed cuts, while they seek more information.

Gov. Haley Barbour, who oversees Medicaid, says state law requires him to cut when the program faces a deficit. He is threatening the cuts Aug. 6 unless lawmakers adopt a hospital tax plan he supports as a long-term funding solution.

Democrats instead prefer including a tobacco tax hike in a special legislative session Barbour called to address Medicaid’s funding. The session resumes Aug. 4.

Court documents filed Thursday challenge Barbour’s interpretation of the law and say the cuts “would violate federally mandated standards incorporated into state law (and) are economically imprudent and unnecessary.”

“Mississippi’s underprivileged residents will be adversely and severely impacted if the Division of Medicaid’s proposed Medicaid rule changes and cost containment measures … are approved and implemented,” plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote.

Medicaid spokesman Francis Rullan said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

Attorneys also filed an extensive public records request for Medicaid-related documents and communication from the governor’s office.

Clarion Ledger
7/26/8