Rep. Flaggs offers plan for state Medicaid works

Published 11:20 am Thursday, November 29, 2012

Outgoing state Rep. George Flaggs Jr. said Wednesday he has a plan to handle the estimated 400,000 people who could be added to Mississippi Medicaid rolls.

“I want to keep the present Medicaid program as it is now,” Flaggs told members of the Vicksburg Lions Club at their weekly meeting. “The new 400,000 we’re talking about, I want to put under Part B. Privatize the Medicaid Part B for the new enrollees. Let a managed care company provide the care and manage the program, and at the same time allow private insurers to come in and participate.”

Flaggs, 59, announced in September that he will retire in July from the Legislature, where he is Warren County’s senior delegate and one of the senior members of the House.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

He also has said he will announce on Jan. 12 whether he will be a candidate for mayor of Vicksburg.

Gov. Phil Bryant opposes federal plans to expand Medicaid in Mississippi, though $10 billion in federal funds will come for the administration of the expansion.

Bryant has said the expanded administration will cost the state too much. Flaggs estimated the cost will be $65 million a year.

Flaggs said the public/private Part B arrangement would save the state money, because the private company would absorb the cost of administering the program and be reimbursed by Medicaid.

He believes Bryant would be open to the proposal “if we can show how the cost of administering the program can be absorbed through the private sector. There’s other programs out there, but that’s one I think we could use.”

Refusing to expand Medicaid coverage, Flaggs said, could affect the state’s health care system by causing some hospitals to lose tax credits and increasing the costs to other patients to cover uncompensated care.

“For economic reasons and health reasons and to give the hospitals some relief and help the health care providers, I think we need to come up with some program,” he said. “I think this model I’m talking about will work.”

Flaggs was first elected in 1988 and has been re-elected six times.