House leader calls on Mississippi governor to let Senate vote on whether to remove people from Medicaid

6/14/2004 11:16:42 PM
Daily Journal

By Bobby Harrison

Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON - House Education Committee Chairman Randy "Bubba" Pierce, trying to reverse the approach used by Gov. Haley Barbour during the recently completed legislative special session, urged the governor Monday to let the Senate to vote on whether to remove up to 65,000 elderly and disabled from the Medicaid rolls.

During the 2004 regular and special sessions, Barbour argued that the House should be allowed to vote on the issue of limiting lawsuits, even though much of that chamber's leadership opposed changes to the civil justice system.

During the special session, the House voted and passed legislation to limit lawsuits.

Pierce said senators should have another opportunity to vote on continuing the Poverty Level Aged and Disabled Program. PLADS provides coverage for about 65,000 Mississippians who earn up to $1,035 per month.

Those people are scheduled to be removed from the Medicaid rolls July 1.

"I would call on Gov. Barbour and the Senate leadership to let the Senate vote," the Leakesville Democrat said Monday at the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute of Government/capitol press corps luncheon. "It is my belief that they would re-establish PLADS."

Barbour's views

The Legislature - at the behest of Barbour - eliminated the PLADS program during the regular session. Barbour, with the strong backing of the Senate leaders, argued that the 65,000 could receive health care coverage through Medicare, a change that would slow the growth of the Medicaid program.

The House has tried to revive the issue, saying the people removed from Medicaid will not receive adequate health care through Medicare.

But Senate President Pro Tem Travis Little, R-Corinth, said the Senate could not vote on the issue because it was outside the reasons for which Barbour called the special session