Medicaid officials still hope for best

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant maintains the state cannot afford the expansion, which is allowed under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Democrats argue the federal government will pay the bulk of the costs of the expansion – 100 percent during the first three years – and that the expansion will provide health care to about 300,000 Mississippians, primarily the working poor.

The current Medicaid program covers the disabled, the elderly and poor pregnant women and poor children. Under the current Medicaid program all single people and most married people are not eligible for Medicaid regardless of their income level.

Federal and state guidelines mandate notice when changes are made in coverage for Medicaid recipients. But it is not clear what would happen if the entire program shut down.

Barham said Medicaid officials do no anticipate that happening, but said they are “aware of the situation and are looking into the potential cost of notification, but do not anticipate the need for sending letters to beneficiaries at this time.”

Bryant, who appoints the director of the Division of Medicaid, has said if no agreement is reached to continue the program he would run it by executive order and let someone take him to court to shut it down.

Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal