Medicaid stalemate: Damage already done

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Health care professionals in Adams County have been reassuring many confused customers in recent days.

Their care and compassion is wonderful, but they shouldn’t have had to reassure anyone at all.

Gov. Haley Barbour last week had to ask doctors, hospitals and pharmacists to continue treating Medicaid patients on faith &045; faith that the Legislature would finally make a decision to end the crisis that has allowed the state agency to run out of money.

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The House wants to fund the Medicaid shortfall with a cigarette tax; the Senate and Barbour want to take money from the tobacco trust fund.

The stalemate, already unconscionable, reached an unbelievable level Friday &045; the very day Medicaid ran out of money &045; when members of the House voted to adjourn without taking any action.

But the House isn’t the only problem. Senate leaders have refused to make any concessions, while the House offered to approve taking money from the trust fund only if it could be paid back.

Lawmakers were meeting late Saturday evening in a special session, but it was unclear what decision might be made.

We know that some kind of compromise will eventually be struck; the right decision is for the House to give in on using the trust fund and for senators and Barbour to give in on paying it back through a cigarette tax increase.

But they have already done some damage by putting so much fear in the hearts of Medicaid recipients &045; and so much disgust in the rest of us.

Don’t forget to begin dialing 601 area code with every call

Monday, we all need to remember to dial 10 digits when calling within our own area code. We’ll have a new, overlapping area code &045; 769 &045; along with the current 601, and we have to remember to dial the area code plus the number for every call. Don’t worry; it’s not long distance if you’re calling locally, it’s just a few more digits to remember.