Senate Passes Medicaid "Option"

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The bill would make several other changes, including requiring more stringent annual evaluations of whether people receiving Medicaid benefits are financially qualified to do so.

Medicaid is a federal-state program for the needy, aged, blind and disabled and for low-income families with children.

Supporters say that bill, which passed the Senate 38 to 7, should save the state over $114 million a year.

"I would like to applaud Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, Sen. Alan Nunnelee, Sen. Terry Burton, and the other Senate leaders who passed our landmark 'Operation: Streamline' Medicaid Reform legislation out of the Senate by a resounding 38-7 bipartisan vote," said Gov. Haley Barbour in a written statement.

Barbour called it a "sustainable solution for taxpayers who have been burdened with skyrocketing Medicaid costs in recent years."

However, opponents say they worry poor people will be hurt by the changes.