Come together to pass Medicaid bills

Published 12:08am Friday, April 5, 2013

Earlier in the 2013 session, on Jan. 31 and again on Feb. 15, the Democrats in the Mississippi House of Representatives voted against the reauthorization of the Division of Medicaid, which is scheduled to expire on June 30.

On Sunday, March 31 and on Monday, April 1, the Democrats again voted to kill the Medicaid program by voting against the $5.39 billion appropriation that would fund Medicaid in our state for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

They stated their reason for voting against Medicaid was that they wanted to expand Medicaid for the adult population age 21 through 65 who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). This is an option under the federal Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.

This is an understandable goal for the Democratic party, but the simple fact is they are choosing to sacrifice the existing Medicaid program which serves children, aged, blind and disabled, nursing home patients and various other Medicaid programs to make a political statement.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we will already add upwards of 90,000 more Mississippians to Medicaid, just by adhering to its mandates. This will increase the total enrollment in our state to around 730,000 persons and another 70,000 children in the CHIPS program.

Many of us believe that we need much more information from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services before taking on upward to 300,000 more adults to our Medicaid program.

The 100 percent match money promised for the first three years is appealing, but the long-term projection is that costs would far exceed initial benefits in the out years. Without the new ACA mandates, state dollar contributions to our Medicaid program has increased by $288 million since 2009.

The budget that we presented was nearly $850 million and was about $90 million short of what the division requested. This amount included $32 million to pay for the new Federal ACA mandates.

We need time to study the effects of expanding Medicaid to 300,000 additional adults from age 21 to 65 in our state.

There are issues related to funding for our hospitals and nursing homes, but no one is certain of exactly how much money is involved. As Chairman of Medicaid, I receive new information weekly that should be considered as we try to make sound decisions about our Medicaid program.  There is simply no logical reason that we should put our Medicaid program in jeopardy with these political antics.

The Division of Medicaid is required by law to give written notice to beneficiaries and providers prior to any changes in the program. Those letters will be mailed soon, and it is a shame that the Democratic members of the House of Representatives are willing to put our most vulnerable citizens through this anguish and uncertainty.

We should come together and pass the existing Medicaid reauthorization and funding package so that our current enrollees don’t have to wring their hands in worry for the next three months. This is not the way to treat our most vulnerable population.


Rep. Bobby B. Howell (R-Kilmichael)

Chairman, Mississippi House Medicaid Committee

  • khakirat

    Republicans have got to give on this issue and pass it for they are hurting the state economical but as always their MOTTO is I’ve got mine made and to H— with you!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Carry us right back to the 18th century won’t you Howell?

  • Keith

    About time some legislatives start having a backbone to all these bleeding heart liberals Democrats, which cleary their agenda’s will not work!!!! We are going broke!!!!
    To my Republican Reps!!! Stand Strong!!! The Affordable Health Care act aka Obamacare!!!! is design ot to work, will not work and will cause poorer health care upon all Americans excpet those at the top!!!!

  • khakirat

    You call that backbone-thats stupidity-Obamacare need to give it a chance for people as my family had to do without insurance for many years because I had a preexisting condition and people as yourself don’t seem to understand ??!!!

  • Keith

    Because of Obama care, I did have insurance! So, I can understand your argument of people without, but at what price will it come to those of us who have lost insurance, and the future ones that are going to loose insurance due to a policy that is already bankrupt from the get go? I say it is about time the Republicans start to get a backbone and stand agaist these evil Socialist Democrats and what they are doing to this nation!!!! BTW, I also have a Pre=exisiting condition, one unless a miricle from G-D, will follow me to my grave!!!, so I do understand!!!! And yes, I am still not for Obama Care!!!!!

  • khakirat

    At least with Obama care you have something but as my family with a preexisting condition it was going to cost $2000 per month so with these high power insurance, doctors, and all medical venders have got way out of line something had to give!!! Thanks to Obama as that of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Clinton that I’m proud of my Democratic party taking unpopular issues that help the poor and the working people!! Until people walk in these shoes they just don’t know and for families going bankrupt to help a family member over health problems just don’t have the reflection!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Keith

    K, I seen the time when I could not afford to have my water turned on. Literally setting buckets on the side of my house to catch rain water so I can flush my toilets!!!! People want to paint the Republicans as not caring for the poor. That is a socialistic lie from the pits of hell!!! We on the conservitive side want to help people, not the government. When others help people, people feel and obligation to also get to a point where they start to help themsleves if not, we start to ditance ourleves from them, wereas when government steps in, people get a sense of entitlement, and get dependant upon these services!!! The powers that be in government, all they want to do, is give more. Look around natchez, you see these people all the time. Guess who pays for them?
    Trust me, the Republicans did have some ideas for health care, but remember, Obama and the Democrats would not even let one Republican into the backroom deals to provide input what-so-ever. They had some great responsible ideas to help the medical industry over all, to also provide for more affordable health care for everyone. The Democrats had their way and their way only!!! So much for the Bully Police!!!!
    Now, the tide is starting to shift back to the conservitive agenda because poeple are starting to see these socialistic agendas, and where they are taking us!!! If you want this, this is a free country, but I know I do not want this. Whenever Socialism takes root and starts to dominate, G-D truly gets pushed out of a nation, if not willingly, then by the powers that be in government. Look at all the laws the liberals in Washington have put into place, and saying to G-D HIMSELF, you want more of this G-D, we do!!!, Well, I am one voice who will not be silenced in this period of time, and call these liberal agendas for what they are, EVIL, from the pitts of hell!!!