The 2018 legislative session is right around the corner and proposed changes to the state Medicaid program in Mississippi have already emerged as a focal point of contention between lawmakers.
The resignation of Medicaid Director Dr. Dzielak has recently been linked to a proposal by the Governor’s office to remove Medicaid eligibility determination and enrollment from the Mississippi Department of Medicaid and into the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
In an ongoing effort to bridge the disconnect in Mississippi between public opinion and public health policy, the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program commissioned the Mason Dixon Polling company to survey Mississippians on their views of the proposed changes to Medicaid enrollment that are currently being contemplated by the Mississippi legislature.
“The results of this poll make it clear that a vast majority of Mississippians do not support moving Medicaid eligibility determination to MDHS or reducing Medicaid coverage,” said Roy Mitchell, Executive Director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program. “Also, the poll strongly indicates that the public tolerance for political gamesmanship with our Medicaid program is low. Mississippi legislators who fail to recognize that Mississippians trust and value our state Medicaid program, do so at their own political peril.”
In early October, Governor Phil Bryant instructed the Mississippi Department of Human Services and Medicaid officials to develop plans to transfer all Medicaid eligibility verification responsibilities to Mississippi Department of Human Services.
Last week, the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research spoke with 625 randomly selected Mississippi registered voters and found that 53% opposed the proposed transfer of eligibility verification to DHS.
MDHS is currently under federal investigation concerning department officials allegedly manipulating federal reporting within a public assistance program. In addition, MDHS made headlines earlier this year after reporting the lowest ever acceptance rate of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families applicants in 2016.
When Mason-Dixon asked voters if they supported or opposed reducing Medicaid coverage of long-term care for seniors, people with disabilities, children and low-income parents, 67% opposed reduced coverage.