The Clarion-Ledger, 3/6/9

Lawmakers in the Mississippi Senate agreed Thursday not to raise hospital taxes to pay for Medicaid if the health care program’s costs can be covered instead by federal stimulus dollars.

In an attempt to receive bonus payments, House Bill 105 also seeks to make it easier for children and teenagers to re-enroll in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The bill could be debated again before heading to the House for more work.

Mississippi stands to receive $750 million to cover an expected increase in Medicaid enrollment, and the money already has begun flowing to the state. It also help could plug a Medicaid funding shortfall that lawmakers have struggled to fill over the last several years.

But the plan leaves a long-term funding solution for the health care program in limbo, and some lawmakers warned the issue will resurface when the federal money expires at the end of 2010.