The last time Gov. Haley Barbour fiddled with Medicaid, hundreds of protesters gathered at the Capitol with signs saying he was throwing the sick out of hospitals.
That was pre-Katrina and it was no coincidence that the protest was silenced.
After the then-newly elected Gov. Barbour in 2004 pushed through his form of Medicaid reform, which shifted 65,000 Mississippians from the state-funded Medicaid to federally funded Medicare, thousands were frightened by the potential loss of benefits. Most of the rolls were reduced by shifting Poverty-Level, Aged and Disabled beneficiaries, and it was required, Barbour said, because the then-Medicaid budget faced a $268 million deficit.
How soon we forget, huh? After the cuts, many – including Republicans whose elderly parents and grandparents feared loss of and higher costs for prescription drug coverage – predicted Barbour’s re-election chances at zero. There were would be long memories at election time, they warned.