House, Senate Pass Medicaid Plans

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Mississippi's Medicaid program is running a $268 million deficit for the budget year that ends June 30.

The Senate plan would cut $20 million from that deficit. The House plan would cut $27.7 million and it includes a 50-cent-per-pack cigarette tax that would generate $39.8 million. That means the House plan would knock $67.5 million off the total deficit.

House leaders say Medicaid officials could make some administrative changes that would save another $16.7 million.

The plans have some similar ideas for savings, including reducing the number of prescriptions that Medicaid patients could get filled every month.

Both bills still need to go through appropriations committees.

The House plan could come up for a vote of the full chamber Thursday, but it's not clear when the Senate plan will reach the floor.

The legislative session ends in early April, and it could be weeks before the two chambers agree on final Medicaid changes.