A bill to advance Mississippi's Medicaid program is headed to the governor's desk after several days of intense negotiations.
Both chambers of the Mississippi legislature passed a Medicaid Bill by wide margins yesterday. The measure outlines how the program is managed. Among the changes: no limit on doctor visits or prescriptions, reimbursement for opioid treatment, coverage for a drug that helps prevent premature births and reimbursements to rural hospitals. Republican Senator Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula Chairs the Medicaid Committee.
"We wanted to get to where we were improving health outcomes and controlling costs. I think that's what we got. The policy that we ended up with is good policy. It updates the Medicaid Tech law. Yeah, sometimes I wish we could've taken a different route to getting there," said Wiggins.
The route included several days of negotiations between the House and Senate that focused on an effort by a group of Mississippi hospitals to obtain part of the managed care insurance business from the state agency. House Democrat Jay Huges of Oxford is on the Medicaid Committee.
"It was very rewarding to watch actual Republicans and Democrats meeting together, finding ways we could agree instead of disagree and then working with the other side of the building to come up with something that didn't please anyone but addressed everyone," said Hughes.
Senator Brice Wiggins says the bill does includes a provision to review Medicaid's contract bidding process. The program comes up for a thorough review every three years. Medicaid serves 1 out of every 4 Mississippians.