Miss. Medicaid bill headed to governor

Lawmakers had to come to a quick agreement. Medicaid was set to expire at midnight unless they agreed to reauthorize the health-care program that serves nearly 600,000 lower-income Mississippians.

On the day before the new fiscal year begins, leaders in the House and Senate and Gov. Haley Barbour agreed to the provisions in House Bill 71. The bill cleared the House first and then the Senate.

Barbour has said he can run Medicaid by executive order if the program was not reauthorized, but Attorney General Jim Hood has said the governor would have no spending authority.

House Bill 71 mirrors in many ways an agreement the House and Senate reached last week, one which Barbour said he wouldn’t accept. The current bill limits the amount of cuts that Barbour can make on hospitals and health-care providers. The previous bill would have exempted hospitals and nursing homes from future cuts.

“There are a lot of dogs and cats in this bill, many of which I wouldn’t have done in normal policy, but just because I didn’t agree with them doesn’t mean that they’re bad or terrible,” Barbour said

Clarion-Ledger
7/1/9