JACKSON, Miss.–Despite assertions by state Republicans in the Senate, the extra $60 million that was pulled from the Medicaid budget will not ultimately come from Medicaid, says state Sen. Hob Bryan (D-Amroy).
Bryan discussed where he believes the money will come from on the Paul Gallo radio Show on SuperTalk Mississippi Tuesday.
“The provision dealing with the Medicaid budget was a technical provision that we put in there to comply with this joint rule that we adopted, which is unfortunate. There is no attempt to reduce the Medicaid budget,” he said.
The rule he is talking about says, according to Bryan, that legislators cannot use any money that is not yet on the ledger. In other words, they can’t use money from future revenue projections, it must come from an existing source. So, they chose to take the $60 million, for now, from Medicaid.
Senators Michael Watson and Tony Smith were on the Gallo Show Monday. Both said taking $60 million, in reality, from the Medicaid budget, would cost the program nearly $300 million because of federal matching money that would go away with the $60 million.
Also part of the amendment that would move the $60 million to education was a provision that authorized Medicaid to pay for “belly band” surgery for people who are considered medically to be morbidly obese.
Bryan said that would save taxpayers money because of the problems that would come with continues morbid obesity.
As far as the cost, he said that would be part of the Medicaid budget.
“The actual cost of any particular program is part of the Medicaid budget as a whole,” he said. “I don’t think this particular provision would cost the taxpayers any more money than without the provision.”
Bryan did not address much about the actual surgery, saying that would be up to the doctor. He did say that people on Medicaid get other necessary surgeries, such as open heart surgery, also at the expense of the taxpayers.