Governor Wants Lawmakers To Act On Medicaid Bailout

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove is urging lawmakers to act quickly on his new plan to bail out the financially ailing Medicaid program.

"We are far past the point where we can allow politics to affect policy. Our people deserve better,'' Musgrove said Monday at the Capitol.

Under his new plan, the state would borrow $119 million, to be repaid next year under a plan to accelerate tax collections from large businesses. The state also would borrow $39 million from the $1.7 billion in special fund agencies.

Musgrove did not specify which agencies would be tapped for the money.

He says his plan would cover the entire $158 million deficit Medicaid is facing this year.

The Senate last week killed a proposal to cover the deficit through a combination of service cuts and fee increases.

Medicaid is running out of money to cover its bills, but Executive Director Rica Lewis Payton said Monday that the program has not yet started sending notices of service cuts to providers or patients.

About 22 percent of Mississippians rely on Medicaid, a federal-state program that provides health coverage for the needy, aged, blind and disabled.