Medicaid Compromise Reached

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Attorneys representing the Division of Medicaid and plaintiffs who sued to recover their benefits presented a consent decree agreement to U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate Thursday. Wingate approved the consent decree and set a hearing for Feb. 3, 2005, to review what had been done by the state.

Mark Garriga, an attorney for Medicaid, said the decree was a compromise.

The decree affects beneficiaries in the Poverty Level Aged and Disabled, or PLADS, category.

It does not affect 17,000 people who now receive Medicaid coverage through a federal waiver or those who applied for benefits after July 31, 2004.

The decree gives lawmakers time at the beginning of the 2005 Legislature to repeal legislation that eliminated the PLADs category.

Medicaid executive director Dr. Warren Jones said the agreement was done in the best interest of Mississippians.

Lawmakers eliminated the PLADs category last spring as a cost-saving move within Medicaid, which provides healthcare for 768,000 people.