This from an article written in the Clarion-Ledger:
Mississippi could receive millions more dollars to cover thousands of uninsured children in a recent federal health-care expansion that rewards states for increasing and simplifying enrollment.
The federal-state partnership provides health insurance for children in mostly working families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to afford private coverage.
Under the new law, Mississippi could raise its income threshold to allow more families to qualify for CHIP. Or the state could try to enroll more children who are currently eligible.
CHIP serves 66,172 children at an annual cost of $30 million, according to the state Division of Medicaid. Agency officials say they have not been able to verify how many children in Mississippi are uninsured.
The state’s maximum CHIP eligibility level is set at 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which means children under age 19 in a family of four with an income of up to $42,000 a year may qualify.
The state estimates raising the level to 250 percent of the federal poverty level would allow it to serve 131,686 at an annual cost of $59.2 million. Raising CHIP to 300 percent of the federal poverty level would be an enrollment count of 146,686 at an annual state cost of $65.9 million, according to the Division of Medicaid.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the reauthorization act nearly triples Mississippi’s share of CHIP funds – from $64.1 million in fiscal 2009 under current law to $183.7 million. Rullan said Medicaid has not verified the numbers.
The reauthorization also fixes a funding formula that caused problems for the state, said Therese Hanna, executive director of the Center for Mississippi Health Policy. But the state still must put up its own money to draw down, or match, federal funds.
Mississippi receives $5.90 for every CHIP dollar it puts up, according to Rullan.
State lawmakers are negotiating on a cigarette tax increase to restore cuts made in the state’s current budget, which is $90 million below estimates, and shore up next year’s budget. Some legislators, including Dedeaux, want to use some of the revenue to offset Medicaid costs.
A federal stimulus package making its way through Congress is expected to provide almost $700 million for the state’s Medicaid needs.
A situation to watch and rant about….gonna be a couple of great years for us bloggers.
Note: Increase anyone is not keeping track…..both Rep. Taylor and Sen. Wicker voted against the bill.