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Medicaid: Help, but no real stability

Medicaid: Help, but no real stability

By: Magnolia Tribune - March 2, 2009

The Clarion-Ledger Editorial, 3/2/9

The 174 members of the Mississippi Legislature must have their pockets full of four-leaf clovers, rabbit feet and all other manner of lucky charms. Or perhaps when it comes to funding Medicaid, lawmakers are simply living right.

The federal stimulus plan that Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law will apparently bail out Mississippi’s Medicaid program yet again.

In prior years, lawmakers have paid for Medicaid by raiding “inviolate” health care trust funds, using Hurricane Katrina relief funds, making deficit appropriations and generally depending on fiscal rabbits being pulled out of hats to avoid funding Medicaid with stable sources.

Medicaid is the federal-state public health care program for the aged, the blind, the disabled and members of low-income families with dependent children. Almost 40 percent of Mississippi’s Medicaid recipients are children, 25 percent are elderly and about 22 percent are disabled.

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