Medicaid Director Projects New Expansion Cost for Miss.By Jeffrey Hess | Published 23 May 2013 07:07am |
The Mississippi Division of Medicaid and its director have consistently referenced cost estimates for the Mississippi Medicaid Budget from a report titled Financial Impact Review of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In this story, the director used a different range of numbers from the report and not new numbers. The report has been available publicly since December 7, 2012. Go here to see the full report http://www.medicaid.ms.gov/Documents/Milliman_Report_GovLetter_DOMSummary.pdf)
The director of the Mississippi Division of Medicaid is projecting that the cost of Medicaid expansion will be much less than the department previously expected. The new estimate is half has expensive as early figures.
Medicaid Director David Dzielak now says expanding the program to cover an additional 300,000 people will cost the state around $450 million over six years.
That's far lower than previous estimates by the division of Medicaid, which initially said Medicaid expansion could cost the state up to $1 billion dollars.
Dzielak says the department has had more time to assess the impact of Medicaid expansion.
"The figures that I presented where the ones that were in the middle of the range. I think the ones that maybe were presented early on were figures that were the maximum. So what is our maximum liability. So the figures I presented today are the mid-range of what it could cost the state," Dzielak.
However, Dzielak also says spending more on Medicaid alone is not enough to improve the health of Mississippians.
"I think it is very similar to the problem with education. Just throwing more money at it isn't going to solve the issue. We really need to dig a little bit deeper into the root cause of these things. And that is where I think any real progress is going to come," Dzielak said.
Dzielak says neither he nor the department have a position on whether or not state lawmakers should expand the program.
Dzielak made the projection at a health care conference in Jackson.
Senator Kenny Wayne Jones of Canton, who supports expanding Medicaid was in the crowd.
Jones says state lawmakers need to consider the potential upside of Medicaid expansion.
"And when he said that, I can understand the way he is thinking about it saying 'throwing more money at it'. But we actually have to look at it from a comprehensive standpoint," Jones said.
Top Mississippi Republicans oppose expansion.
State lawmakers finished their regular legislative session without re-authorizing, funding, or expanding Medicaid.
The program expires at the end of June.
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