Governor announces Medicaid reimbursement reforms, but Democrats call it an election-year stunt

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 10:21 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi is looking to change the way hospitals get reimbursed by Medicaid. Governor Tate Reeves made the announcement today alongside leaders from multiple hospitals around the state Thursday. But there are questions about his motivations.

Hospitals lose money for every patient who has Medicaid.

That’s because they don’t get reimbursed for as much as the care actually costs. And Mississippi is asking for federal approval to change two of those formulas.

“Over the last four to five months, we’ve worked to put together a course of action that we believe can have a real impact on Mississippi hospitals,” said Reeves.

There are two formula changes that combined are expected to equal nearly 700 million dollars more for the state’s hospitals, both public and private.

“These dollars will dramatically reduce the impacts of uncompensated care cost on providers,” explained Reeves. “This relieves a tremendous amount of pressure on hospitals and will help place them in a more positive financial position.”

It won’t be your tax dollars paying the non-federal share to draw down the added money. The hospitals will be on the hook for that.

“The provider tax, which is provided by the hospitals themselves, it’s going to cost them an additional 178 million dollars,” added Reeves.

But Democrats are calling a foul. The Mississippi Democratic Party chairman says their goal is still to get Medicaid expansion, not another band-aid.

“This is poli-tricks, not politics,” said Chairman Cheikh Taylor. “Because if you cared about the people, we would have done this thing a long time ago.”

Reeves’ Democratic opponent Brandon Presley also said the timing is suspect.

“Tate Reeves has finally woken up and realized we have a healthcare crisis in Mississippi, just 47 days before an election,” said Presley in a video posted to social media. “Look, this guy’s desperate. And he will pull any type of political stunt just like today to try to get reelected.”

“I’m gonna get criticized no matter what I do, that’s just that’s the reality of it,” said Reeves.

The proposed reimbursement formula changes still need to be approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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