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Proposed Medicaid Cuts Could Have Huge Effects in Mississippi

By Daniel Cherry | Published 12 May 2011 10:13am | comments

The debate in Washington over cutting Medicaid spending could have effects on seniors and those living with disabilities in Mississippi. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports on some of their concerns.

As the poorest state in the nation every dollar Mississippi spends funding health care it gets about three in return from the federal government. Steve Holland, Chairman of the Mississippi House Public Health Committee says any cuts to Medicaid would have big implications statewide.

"You just name it. If there is a health care problem it exists in Mississippi. Anything that decreases our level of ability to buy health care just decreases health care."

About 60 percent of people living with disabilities in Mississippi are assisted by Medicaid. Mary Troupe is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities. She says many of those affected including children require medicaid assistance to be able to live normal lives.

"Physical therapy, occupational therapy. If children do not get these services through Medicaid, then they're not going to be able to speak, they're not going going to be able to walk or know how to use a wheelchair. They're not going to have the occupational skills that they need so it all connects."

One proposed cut would remove a law prohibiting states from reducing their eligibility levels.
Ron Pollack, Executive Director for Families USA, says cut could mean thousands of people would lose their coverage.

"When you're middle class and then all of a sudden you need long term care, the costs are extremely high. as people pay those costs out of their pockets and out of their family's pocket they quickly become impoverished."

There are about 270,000 seniors and people with disabilities who are on Medicaid assistance in Mississippi.

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