The president St. Dominic Hospital says hospitals in Mississippi are working on a plan that could lead to the state expanding Medicaid. The hospitals say they need to expand the program to keep their doors open.
St. Dominic's president Lester Diamond says Mississippi hospitals are working on a proposal that would include changes to the existing Medicaid program to help convince reluctant state lawmakers to expand it.
Diamond says there is a sweet spot that includes conservative changes to Medicaid but still open access to hundreds of thousands of more Mississippians.
"Hopefully some of those alternatives will be appealing to the leadership in our state and also allow us to draw down some of the federal dollars that are available as part of a quote 'Medicaid Expansion," Diamond said.
Medicaid expansion is an optional part of the health care reform law.
The federal government would pay 90-percent of the costs of new Mississippians added to the program.
Diamond says they are looking at other conservative, southern states pursuing Medicaid expansion for possible ideas.
"then be able to design a system that allows us to increase access and hopefully draw down those federal dollars," Diamond said.
Diamond says hospitals need a solution quickly because the federal government is winding down money intended to re-pay them for uncompensated care.
The Governor, Lt. Governor, and speaker of the Mississippi house all strongly oppose Medicaid expansion.