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Medicaid: Where is the money going?

JACKSON, Miss.- A separate Medicaid Committee was allowed for the first time by the State Senate in January, and they have the nearly impossible task of maintaining one of the state’s most expensive agencies. 

“We spend a billion in state dollars and another five to six billion dollars in Medicaid. In total that’s close to seven billion spent on Medicaid in this state,” Senator Brice Wiggins, who also chairs the Medicaid Committee, said.

Wiggins said there are in total about 775,000 beneficiaries on medicaid but that 80 percent of those funds are driven by 20 percent of the beneficiaries.

That 20 percent includes the elderly and disabled.

“You’re really looking at the baby boomer generation in that percentage,” Wiggins said. “It’s called the silver tsunami, The Greatest Generation, and the Baby Boomer generation added together is what we are facing right now.”

Wiggins said the million dollar question is; how do we manage it all?

The state’s best option, Wiggins said, is to maintain the costs and try to slow the growth.

“One of the biggest drivers of the cost is the inflation of medical costs,” he said.

Without doing anything, just based on medical care and equipment, those costs have gone up 24 percent. Wiggins said they’ll be looking at everything extensively, but particularly able bodied individuals that are getting money from medicaid that they are not legally eligible for.

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