Rep. Currie’s Medicaid managed-care proposal goes to MS Senate

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Mississippi House decided Monday not to have a second debate on a bill that could force the state’s Medicaid program to end a contract with health care giant Centene.

House Bill 658 moves to the Senate for more work.

Centene settled a lawsuit last year that accused one of its subsidiaries of overcharging the Mississippi Division of Medicaid millions of dollars for pharmacy benefits management. Centene agreed to pay the state $55.5 million but did not admit fault.

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During discussion of a Medicaid bill Thursday, the House adopted an amendment that would prohibit the Medicaid program from contracting with a company that has paid over $50 million in a settlement agreement with the state.

The amendment, by Republican Rep. Becky Currie of Brookhaven, was aimed at Centene. It would require the state to contract with a nonprofit entity to manage Medicaid services.

Currie said Thursday on the House floor that she “never saw” any proof from Centene that their goal was anything other than profit, rather than wanting to take care of children.

“I just don’t want us to continue to take pay providers or managed care companies when they don’t take care of us,” she said.

“What this is going to do is complicate the bill … I would ask that you oppose the amendment … I’m trying to keep this a clean bill,” was the response from the bill’s author, Rep. Joey Hood.

“This contract is going to be signed in March. If we don’t do it today, we’re in for another three to five years with this company. Also in my amendment I said that we needed a non-profit company from Mississippi to take the place of this company. A non-profit company from our state where our dollars don’t go to St. Louis, Missouri,” Currie said in her final comments. “If we don’t do it today — if you want your hospitals to continue not be paid, your doctors and so forth — don’t vote for it.”

Loud “ayes” were heard in support of the amendment, with no voiced opposition.

Hood — joined by Rep. Clay Deweese — entered a motion to reconsider the amended bill Thursday, but withdrew the motion Monday.


The Associated Press contributed to this article.