Legislative Black Caucus holds Medicaid hearing to gather information ahead of 2020 legislative session

Updated: Jun. 11, 2019 at 7:34 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus wants a better grasp on how the $6.1 billion dollars are being spent at the Division of Medicaid. Around a billion of those are state dollars.

“To see how that translates to services for our people around the state. That was very important to me.”

Legislators took advantage of the chance to quiz the Division of Medicaid.

“We are focused as y’all have heard me talk about on providing the best coverage we can for the population we have and moving that needle," said Medicaid Deputy Executive Director Tara Clark. "Making people healthier.”

One issue is that lawmakers are being told Medicaid recipients are having trouble getting non-emergency transport to appointments.

“They don’t have a right to choose when people’s appointments are," said Rep. Omeria Scott. "Their job is to provide a service.”

The legislature voted to increase the available elderly and disabled waivers this year. Those allow low income elderly or disabled individuals the ability to receive care outside of a nursing facility. But lawmakers say there’s still a waiting list.

“We feel that there are some additional services that could be in a waiver situation for people that are trying to remain out of assisted living," added Rep. Omeria Scott.

Members know there will be new leadership next session and some form of Medicaid expansion could be on the table after years of pushing for it.

“We know from research the importance of it, from a health care standpoint, from an economic standpoint," said Rep. John Faulkner. "So, I’m hoping and praying that this is a jump start for it.”

“We don’t have an official agency position on that,” noted Deputy Executive Director Clark.

The information gathered will help shape the caucus for next year’s session.

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