Medicaid hearing takes place at Capital; addresses “elephant in the room”

The big issue at hand - whether the state should “expand.”

Medicaid hearing takes place at the Capital

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mississippi Executive Director of Medicaid, Drew Snyder, briefed members of the House of Representatives and gave them an update on the current status of the program.

The big issue at hand - whether the state should “expand.”

“Look, I’ll go ahead and address the elephant in the room head on," said Snyder. “Obviously the issue of Medicaid expansion is a very hot topic right now. And there are strong opinions for and against it, and many of these strong opinions are right here in this room.”

According to Snyder, the agency has been able to find ways to find cost savings. So they’re not asking lawmakers this year for as much as they have in the past. For the 2020 fiscal year, the budget request to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee originally asked for $954 million, but on Jan. 14th 2019, they revised the budget to $939 million.

State Democrats say small and rural hospitals are shouldering the burden of the costs by treating high numbers of uninsured patients.

Snyder outlined the programs priorities this year, saying that their aim is to improve health and wellness for beneficiaries, reduce the administrative burden on providers, provide program transparency, and enhance value to taxpayers and consumers. But not expansion.

“Medicaid expansion is not on our agenda in any way, and we’re focused on responsibly providing access to quality care for beneficiaries and better value to the taxpayer,” said Snyder.

Supporters of expanding Medicaid, such as Roy Mitchell with Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, say it would help the states economy, and for it to become an option would mean that both parties move on an expansion bill.

“Until we expand Medicaid, you’re going to continue to see rural hospitals struggle, you’re going to see rural Mississippians suffer. Not only health-wise, but economically as well. It’s billions of dollars into the economy of Mississippi. That turns within our economy, that turns our tax base. The financial rewards are huge for expanding medicaid," said Mitchell.

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