The Clarion-Ledger Editorial, 8/17/8

Mississippi’s ongoing Medicaid melodrama continues with recipients, hospitals and officials alike unsure of the specifics of Gov. Barbour’s proposed solution.

After the Legislature failed to act to solve a $90 Medicaid revenue shortfall during the 2008 regular session as they did in 2007 as well, Barbour called them into special session on May 29 and kept calling them back and back again after they failed to find agreement.

During the standoff, Barbour firmly threatened to cut $375 million from the program. Political pressure on the governor and members of the Legislature from frightened recipients and their families intensified all summer.

But just before the special session was to resume earlier this month, Barbour came up with an 11th-hour administrative solution that he said would fund the $90 million shortfall and thereby stave off the cuts. He said that his plan could be implemented without legislative approval.