The Clarion-Ledger, 2/24/9

President Barack Obama said Monday that Mississippi will receive more than $137 million this week for Medicaid costs.

The money is part of $15 billion in the recently enacted stimulus package aimed at lowering state costs to run the health-care program for the poor.

Obama warned the nation’s governors, in Washington on Monday for the National Governors Association’s winter meeting, that the money “is not a blank check.”

“These funds are intended to go directly towards helping struggling Americans keep their health coverage,” Obama said. “We want to make sure that’s what’s happening, and we’re going to work with you closely to make sure that this money is spent the way it’s supposed to.”

Mississippi now pays about 24 cents for every dollar of Medicaid costs, and the federal government pays the rest. The state’s share would be reduced by about 6 cents with the new Medicaid funds.