Lawmaker: Medicaid cutoff date may change

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 27, 2004

While the date for Medicaid coverage cutoff for 65,000 residentshas been postponed, a Lincoln County lawmaker said Thursday shethinks coverage could be extended beyond a new Oct. 1 effectivedate.

“Right now, I feel like there will be another delay,” said Dist.39 Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a member of the Senate Public Health andWelfare Committee. “I don’t know if all the changes can be made bythe Oct. 1 deadline.”

A switch from Medicaid to Medicare for 47,000 state recipientshad been scheduled to take effect Sept. 15, but a federal law saidthe switch cannot be made until the end of the month. The state isseeking waivers to allow continued Medicaid coverage for another18,000 recipients who would not be covered by Medicare.

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The Senate panel held hearings earlier this week to see how thesituation is progressing. Hyde-Smith said the Medicaid-Medicareswitch remains a “complicated issue.”

“It was two days of hearings a lot of people saying differentthings,” Hyde-Smith said.

Citing comments from Warren Jones, state Medicaid director,Hyde-Smith said she was “pretty optimistic” that waivers for the18,000 recipients would come through.

The Medicaid issue has been a political hot topic this year aslawmakers and Gov. Haley debated how recipients would be impacted.Hyde-Smith said she was hoping for a smooth transition when thechanges do take effect.

“I’m real concerned about it,” Hyde-Smith said. “I’m looking tosee how this will affect my district and the people Irepresent.”

She did not have a total on how many people would be affected inher district.