Thursday, May 8, 2008
Anderson updates board on Medicaid bill, other matters
By SUE WATSON
Consultant Gary Anderson provided an update on legislative matters in Jackson to the Marshall County Board of Supervisors.
“June seems to be the month for setting up the special session,” he said.
The Ways and Means Committee is expected to consider a bill for the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and the Medicaid bill on May 15, he said.
“There is some talk of action on additional infrastructure,” he said, adding that there may be some potential for more dollars for paving the North Holly Springs bypass road.
With regard to Medicaid, Anderson said the House of Representatives and the governor are divided on which approach to solve Medicaid funding.
“The proposal the governor advanced calls for each hospital bed that is not for a Medicaid client to pay $200 extra a day to recover costs for Medicaid,” Anderson said. “The House is still pushing for a cigarette tax to pay for Medicaid.”
If the governor’s proposal passes, group insurance plans and individual insurance plans would be billed the $200 a day for hospital stays, he said.
Anderson has set the first meeting in June as the time for supervisors to discuss a crisis intervention center or alcohol and drug treatment facility with officials from the State Department of Mental Health.
Justice Court Judge Ernest Cunningham also reported to the board on the upgrades made by this year’s legislators in the justice court system.
“It’s the best thing that has happened to justice court in 20 years,” he said.
The bill, supported by the Association of Justice Court judges and clerks, increases the qualifications for judges across the board.
“In upcoming elections, it increases the qualifications to an associate degree, or five years experience as clerk or five years as a certified deputy sheriff or paralegal,” he said.
Training for elected judges has been increased also as well as the civil jurisdiction. Case caps for justice court jurisdiction increased from $2,500 to $3,500 litigated damages.
“This is a new day and time and certainly will improve the justice court system,” Cunningham said.
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