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franklin county times

Medicaid test takes political turn

By Staff
August 12, 2004
By Buddy Bynum/editor
Rep. Greg Snowden, a Republican, says state Democratic chairman Wayne Dowdy "is lying or completely clueless as to the legislative process" when he blames GOP lawmakers for Medicaid reforms.
The Mississippi Democratic Party is buying radio ads some on stations owned by Dowdy's brother criticizing four Republican lawmakers. The targets include Snowden, of Meridian, and Sens. Tommy Robertson of Moss Point, Travis Little of Corinth and Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo.
The Democrats' ads claim the four Republicans were instrumental in passage of the Medicaid changes and demand cancellation of the reforms or a delay in the Sept. 15 implementation date.
Snowden said it is discouraging that "Dowdy and the Democrats are now working so hard to scuttle the bipartisan reforms which can save our Medicaid program tens of millions of dollars."
Snowden said that, ultimately, "if the Medicaid poverty level aged and disabled (PLAD) recipients are not going to have the adequate prescription drug coverage that everyone fully intends for them to have, the Legislature will reinstate the former PLAD program.
Snowden said he will "wear my target' as a badge of honor, fully trusting the voters of District 83 to recognize the Democrat attack ads for the partisan political stunt they are.
About 65,000 people are scheduled to be removed from Medicaid rolls as a cost-cutting measure. Medicaid is funded with state and federal dollars.
The state is applying for federal permission to continue providing Medicaid coverage for about 18,000 people who need anti-rejection drugs after organ transplants or chemotherapy, dialysis or anti-psychotic drugs.
Officials say about 47,000 of the people losing Medicaid will be covered by the federal Medicare program. But Medicare won't have a full-fledged prescription program until January 2006, and health advocates worry some patients will have to choose between food and medicine.
The Medicaid cuts originally were to take effect July 1, but as that deadline approached, Barbour delayed the changes until Sept. 15 to give the Division of Medicaid more time to distribute information about free and discounted drugs available from pharmaceutical companies.
Medicaid officials are contacting people affected by the cuts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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