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Medicaid will live on in the...

Medicaid will live on in the Governor’s office and with a budget

By: Sarah Ulmer - March 31, 2021

The Mississippi House and Senate have come to an agreement on the Medicaid Technical Amendments bill. However, it did not come without a debate between the chambers on the best way to move forward.

Nearing the end of the Legislative session, Chairman of the Senate Medicaid committee Sen. Kevin Blackwell said that there were disagreements between the chambers on how to finalize the bill. The sticking point seemed to be the desire from the House to remove the Division of Medicaid out from under the Governor’s office and place it under the purview of a seven-member commission. That push made by the House was unsuccessful in the final conference report as it was removed.

A bill on the House side previously authored by Rep. Trey Lamar to do the same was also killed earlier in session.

On Monday night, Sen. Blackwell took up the Medicaid appropriations bill on the Senate floor. He announced several changes to the funds for FY2022 which included funding the Delta Health Alliance at $1 million, appropriating roughly $1 million to the Elderly and Disabled Community Home waiver which would allow for 435 new slots to become available. The measure also appropriated $800,000, or 238 new slots, to the Assisted Living Home community-based waiver.

The new language was approved by the Senate before heading home for the night.

The House approved the appropriations on the contingency that a Medicaid tech bill is passed. The bill, HB1400, was held on a motion to reconsider, as they waited for the final Medicaid tech report to come in.

Tuesday, the final conference report for the Medicaid Technical Amendments bill, SB 2799, was released. Conferees said it was the sixth version of the report before being brought to the floor.

Blackwell listed these highlights in the report:

  • 5% reimbursement for some providers.
  • Restored crossover claims for hospitals.
  • Nursing home and immediate care facility reimbursement days were restored.
  • Additional 5% bump for dentists in 2022, 2023 and 2024 to cover preventive dental services.

However, Blackwell said the biggest loss for the Senate was the removal of language to provide postpartum care for pregnant women up to 12 months after birth. Even with the three-year repealer in the bill, Blackwell said they could come back at any time and add that coverage for recipients.

The Senate was first to pass the bill with only four no votes.  The House then voted 95 to 25 in favor of the legislation.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: