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franklin county times

Medicaid crisis a top priority for Musgrove

By By William F. West / community editor
July 5, 2002
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove said that one of his priorities is solving the crisis in Medicaid a program that has been in financial shambles for months.
Medicaid Executive Director Rica Lewis Payton estimates a $120 million shortfall for the program for the fiscal year that started Monday.
Meanwhile, the legislative PEER Committee, a government watchdog panel, said the state's Division of Medicaid inflated its prediction of a budget shortfall by $73 million.
Musgrove said solving Medicaid requires "having a priority budget. As we said when we presented our budget, we felt like you had to use real numbers and you couldn't use rosy projections."
On other matters, the governor said he also is working hard to resolve the tort reform issue. Supporters say changes are needed to avoid large multimillion dollar jury verdicts in civil lawsuits.
Some medical doctors are unable to secure malpractice insurance because of the threat of large jury awards. Consequently, some are considering moving out of state.
Musgrove said he is "willing to call a special session to address those issues as soon as we get the work done."
Musgrove also declined to comment on the possibility that House Speaker Tim Ford may retire next year from the state Legislature after 22 years in office including 14 as speaker.

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