The Clarion-Ledger, 3/21/8

The author of a bill that would have hiked cigarette taxes to pay for Medicaid attempted Thursday to revive the measure, but even its supporters said the renewed effort probably will fail.

If they are proven correct, state Rep. George Flaggs warned in a news release that the health insurance program that serves hundreds of thousands of Mississippians will run out of money next month and lead to cuts in prescription drug subsidies and nursing home services.

Medicaid spokesman Francis Rullan said Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, “may be right, or he may be wrong.”

Flaggs’ comments continued to fuel a political standoff over a funding issue that remains unsolved with under a month left in the legislative session. Opponents of a cigarette tax, including GOP Gov. Haley Barbour, want to tax hospitals instead to pay for the increasing costs of Medicaid.