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Lawmakers nearing compromise on Medicaid expansion plan amid gridlock

After skipping out on Thursday’s meeting to discuss Medicaid expansion in Mississippi, Senate conferees have expressed willingness to work with the House of Representatives to draft a proposal that would provide federal healthcare coverage to the working poor.

Lawmakers in both chambers had been in a state of gridlock over preferred expansion plans and it appeared that nothing was going to be accomplished this legislative session. However, the Senate has since opened the door for the two parties to reach an agreement before sine die.

The Senate’s initial proposal would cover those up to 100% of the federal poverty level but hinged on approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to instill a 30-hour per week work requirement. Under the Senate’s plan, the federal government would cover 77% of the cost to facilitate the program with the state footing the other 23% of the bill.

The House’s Medicaid expansion plan would provide coverage for those up to 138% of the federal poverty level with a tentative work requirement attached to draw down the maximum amount of federal dollars possible. The proposal would cover an estimated total nearing 200,000 Mississippians.

To cover those up to 138% of the federal poverty level, House conferees offered a compromise for individuals between 0-99% of the federal poverty level to remain under the scope of managed care organizations. People between 100% and 138% of the federal poverty level would remain on the federal insurance exchange. Under this approach, the federal government would cover 90% of the cost of expanding Medicaid in Mississippi and the state would only be required to pay the remaining 10%.

CMS would have until September 30 to approve Mississippi’s bid, under the House’s proposal, to require people to work 20 hours a week for an employer who does not offer insurance if they want to receive government-provided coverage. If CMS denied the application, full-force Medicaid expansion would then go into effect.

Though the Senate appeared to be deadset on its version of expansion as no compromise was reached during the initial conference meeting on Tuesday and conferees missed Thursday’s

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