Mississippi Medicaid Gets Approval For Waivers

Mississippi has won federal approval waivers to continue to provide Medicaid services to about 17,000 who would have been removed from the program under a new state law, Gov. Haley Barbour said Thursday.

Medicaid officials had expected the announcement last week, but it never came. Barbour said approval came Wednesday. He said the waivers took effect Thursday.

Lawmakers, at Barbour's urging, passed legislation last spring that dropped 65,000 people in the Poverty Level Aged and Disabled category from Medicaid.

They said it was a cost saving move, as most of those people would be eligible for Medicare, which is wholly funded by the federal government.

The waivers will cover 17,000 in the PLADs category who need anti-rejection drugs after organ transplants, chemotherapy, kidney dialysis or anti-psychotic drugs. Medicaid director Warren Jones said there is room to add more people if needed.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)