Mississippi Medicaid Fraud-Prevention Rule Criticized for Eliminating Beneficiaries From Program
Mississippi state lawmakers last week rejected efforts to repeal a state rule requiring Medicaid beneficiaries to show up in person to renew their enrollment each year, the AP/Miami Herald reports. The rule was approved with the intention of deterring fraud, and Gov. Haley Barbour (R) -- a leading proponent of the rule's development -- said that it has been effective. Census data show that the number of uninsured children in the state has increased by 146,000, or 72%, since the policy was implemented in 2005. Before the rule went into effect, the state's Medicaid rolls included about 621,394 of the three million residents of the state. Current enrollment is about 568,000, including children.
According to advocates, children are being denied coverage under the rule because their parents do not have transportation or are unable to take time off of work to renew coverage. Medicaid spokesperson Francis Rullan said the policy has helped the program maintain solvency by removing people not eligible for benefits, but he noted that there is no way to tell if the rule has reduced fraud. State House Medicaid Committee Chair Dirk Dedeaux (D) said the bill will be revived when lawmakers return in May or June. Barbour is expected to fight such an effort (Byrd, AP/Miami Herald, 4/2).