Ways to pay for Medicaid considered

The Clarion-Ledger obtained a copy of two methods recently presented to lawmakers to consider this legislative session.

Lawmakers and a powerful hospital association agree the proposals smooth inequities in a system that allows some Mississippi hospitals to be reimbursed much more for caring for low-income patients. Also, the per-day tax is substantially lower than in a previous plan.

But there is no consensus on an issue that has divided lawmakers and Gov. Haley Barbour, who oversees Medicaid – the extent to which hospitals should help pay the state’s portion of the federal-state program.

Some hospital administrators say Medicaid’s proposed $90 million assessment will cause them to eliminate more jobs and services in a shaky economy that already has caused layoffs. Even if the tax is eventually approved, it won’t solve all of Medicaid’s financial needs, since lawmakers used at least $252,000 in one-time money last year to help pay for the program.

Clarion Ledger
1/25/9