FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 24, 2004

GOVERNOR BARBOUR TRAVELS TO WASHINGTON TO WORK FOR MEDICAID WAIVERS MEETS WITH FEDERAL MEDICAID OFFICIALS

(Jackson, Miss.) - Governor Haley Barbour met today with senior officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to continue his work for federal waivers that would allow 18,000 current Medicaid beneficiaries to continue to stay on the program.

"I appreciate the positive responses we are receiving from officials at CMS. I am confident that the waivers we are asking for will be granted,"
said Governor Barbour.

When the Medicaid Reform Act takes effect, the waivers are expected to be in place to provide the needed coverage for many at-risk beneficiaries. Dr. Warren Jones, Executive Director of Medicaid, and others from the Barbour Administration will meet with federal officials again Friday to continue talks regarding the waivers.

Of the 6% of the Medicaid population affected by this reform,

*Approximately 5,000 are not eligible for Medicare because they are either not yet 65 years of age, they have no work history, or they are in the midst of a two-year waiting period required by federal law when applying for Medicare; and

*Approximately 13,000 are either end-stage renal disease patients on dialysis, cancer patients on chemotherapy, or organ transplant recipients on anti-rejection drugs. Those who are mentally ill patients on anti-psychotic medications are being included in this wavier also.

This equals 18,000 beneficiaries whose health care coverage will continue under Medicaid. The other 47,000 beneficiaries are shifting from Medicaid to Medicare for their health care needs. Every single person who is shifting to the federal Medicare program is eligible to get their drugs from patient assistant programs. These programs provide over 1350 drugs for FREE or no more than $15 per month. They can sign up for a Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card that will provide discounts on prescriptions drugs they cannot get for free. They also get $1200 to help pay for any prescription drugs they cannot get for free.

"We would have never made these changes if even one person was going to be left without proper coverage. Mississippi Medicaid recipients should not be confused by misinformation. They should go to the source - the Division of Medicaid - for direction by calling 1-800-421-2408," Barbour added.

 


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741