Thursday, April 1, 2010

Haley Barbour to turn down close to $75 million in federal Medicaid funds

I guess I am growing numb to these type of decisions by Governor Barbour. While I may be outraged, I am not surprised at all. Haley Barbour has decided to go ahead with the plan to slash Medicaid by $14 million in his efforts to trim the state budget. Because of the way the federal funds are matched to state funds, Mississippi's most vulnerable citizens will stand to lose close to an additional $75 million in matching federal Medicaid dollars.

Clarion Ledger:
More than 20 percent of Mississippi's population is on Medicaid - a state and federally funded program that provides medical care to those who can't afford it.Barbour spokesman Dan Turner said the governor does not support a House plan to transfer $14 million from the health care trust fund.
Covering the $14 million in state funds would prevent a nearly $90 million loss when federal matching dollars are considered, Mitchell said.
Twenty percent of this state relies on Medicaid for health care. That is close to a half million Mississippians. That twenty percent includes a lot of good Mississippians who have families that depend on this program. I cannot imagine a situation where any leader of Mississippi would want to turn down $75 million in federal money for our poorest Mississippians to have access to health care for a paltry $14 million out of a $500 million round of budget cuts.

For the first time in 19 months, the state is expected to meet - and, in fact, may slightly exceed - revenue projections.
Revenues as of Tuesday for March were about a quarter of 1 percent above estimates, largely because of a strong showing in corporate income tax receipts.
By restoring the $82 million to education, while making the additional cuts to Medicaid, the Governor is trying to pit the two pillars of Democratic policy against each other. Mississippi progressives are given a false dichotomy of choosing between education or health care for the poor. After all anything that benefits the underprivileged in Mississippi such as Medicaid, or the opportunity for a good education are prime targets for the Governor's hatchet. Never mind that there are emergency and rainy day funds that could be tapped for the time being. As usual, Haley will get his pound of flesh from the poor.


  1. I thought the Democrats made the budget restorations in the legislature, restorations that included cuts to Medicaid. Either the Democrats can claim credit for restoring education funds and get blamed for cutting Medicaid. Or Democrats can blame the Governor for making those Medicaid cuts and praise him for restoring education funding.

  2. Legislature is in denial about the budget. Governor is in denial about the need for revenue but is acting properly as executive to underscore the need to trim budgets, cut costs, & make savings. State & counties have been negligent in educating kids to be healthy & self-determining individuals. Reality is that our current state government is bloated, filled with patronage, & not prepared to benefit from the Obama plan which I support.

  3. Two words here - matching funds.

    Can Mississippi afford to give up 14 Million in federal matching funds?

    Doloroso, I'd like to know if you think Education and Medicare are the only places the budget can be cut? This is not an either/or decision, and cutting $14M in funds that have a feceral match is poor management. I can't place the blame squarely on either side, but looks like the scales are tipping Barbour's way. That's the view from here.

    Charlie, I can't disagree with you.

  4. Oops, clarification - the blame scales are tipping Barbour's way. I didn't express myself clearly.

  5. CW, I think there are plenty of places to make the cuts. The post said, "By restoring the $82 million to education, while making the additional cuts to Medicaid, the Governor is trying to pit the two pillars of Democratic policy against each other."

    My point is, either the Governor is to thank for restoring education funds and to blame for the Medicaid cuts. OR the legislature is to thank for the education funds and to blame for the Medicaid cuts. You can't blame the Governor without giving him credit, too. Or, if you want to recgonize that the legislature did this, then the blame falls on both Houses - both of which are majority Democrat.