Miss. Medicaid requests additional $158.8 million - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Miss. Medicaid requests additional $158.8 million

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Mississippi Division of Medicaid is asking lawmakers for $980.5 million for its upcoming budget, that's an increase of more than $158.8 million.

The request was presented at a budget hearing Thursday afternoon.

Those numbers do not include the state participating in the Affordable Healthcare Act.

However, the discussion quickly centered around the new federal healthcare law.

If the state does opt-in to the plan and has full participation, which is rare, it could cost $1.6  billion by 2020.

"That presents a very difficult budgetary issue for us because if we're going to do it, we've got to come up with that much money. Additional money, in addition to the $900 million we already put towards it," said House Speaker Rep. Phillip Gunn (R).

Ed Sivak, Director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center countered with, "It could potentially help 270,000 people get health insurance, making them healthier, making them more productive. It will also bring billions of dollars in the state in federal money. This money will create jobs and economic opportunity."

The federal government would cover 100% health related services up until 2017, if Mississippi were to opt-in the new healthcare law.

The state would be responsible for at least $53 million in additional administrative costs.

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