A “sweeping series of Medicaid reimbursement reforms” could bring Mississippi’s hospitals an extra $689 million yearly, Gov. Tate Reeves announced at a Thursday press conference in Jackson, Miss. His plan to help rescue dozens of struggling hospitals comes 47 days ahead of the statewide elections where the Republican incumbent will face Democratic challenger Brandon Presley, who has long accused him of doing too little.
The governor’s proposal involves two plans that use federal funds to reimburse hospitals in the Medicaid system at a higher rate. Hospitals would have to pay more in taxes to receive more federal dollars, though.
“The Medicaid system was built and designed to support those most in need across America— eligible seniors in need, pregnant mothers, children, people with disabilities—that is who Medicaid was designed to serve,” Reeves said at the press conference. “This increase in the reimbursement rate will help expand the opportunities for care across the state for those beneficiaries.”
The governor has long opposed and continues to oppose accepting over $1 billion in annual federal funds to expand Medicaid, which supporters say could give more than 200,000 uninsured working Mississippians access to health care and help hospitals stay afloat with little cost to the state.
Under Reeves’ plan, the Mississippi Hospital Access Program would directly pay hospitals that have patients in the Mississippi Medicaid managed care program, offering a higher reimbursement rate that is closer to the average commercial rate, he said. Another part of the plan will help supplement hospitals’ Medicaid base payment rates “by reimbursing inpatient and outpatient hospital services in the fee-for-service system up to the Medicare upper payment limit,” Reeves’s press release explained.
“This funding will have a profound impact on the bottom line of state hospitals, both large and small,” Reeves said at the press conference.
He said the extra money for hospitals would also help improve the quality of care for people on Medicaid and would come “at almost no cost to Mississippi taxpayers.”
“Ultimately, those who receive care through these
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