Medicaid Funding Estimate Up Sharply

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Medicaid officials say they will need $273 million more to operate next year. Officials originally told lawmakers they would need an increase of $103 million.

In a memo to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee Thursday, Medicaid director, Dr. Warren Jones, said he made a mistake with his calculations. Jones said he mistakenly told lawmakers the $103 million budget increase included $90 million to offset the loss of federal funding, when it actually does not.

Jones' memo also says a clarification in Medicaid rules could cost another $80 million by lowering an eligibility requirement for home health care, making more people eligible.

Jones said the state's contribution to Medicaid in 2006 would be $692 million. This is a 65 percent increase over this year's $419 million budget.