Senate chairman: Miss. Medicaid cuts unnecessary

By The Assocated Press

JACKSON — A top Democrat in the Mississippi Senate says it’s wrong for Medicaid to cut payments to doctors and other providers.

Senate Public Health Committee Chairman Hob Bryan said Monday that Republican Gov. Haley Barbour could tap the state’s financial reserves to cover the $14.6 million state shortfall for the year ending June 30.

Medicaid is a government-funded insurance plan for the needy. It told doctors, dentists and other providers two weeks ago that it intends to cut their payments for April, May and June. The state is still awaiting federal permission to make the cuts.

Medicaid is paid by state and federal money. With the federal contribution, the total shortfall is just over $87 million.

Barbour spokesman Dan Turner says lawmakers are responsible for the shortfall, not the governor.