Haley travels to New Hampshire, Iowa

from the hill.com

A day after we learned the Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) is heading to Iowa at the end of June, we find out that he also plans to head to New Hampshire.

Barbour will headline an event for the New Hampshire Republican Party on June 24, one day before he’s in Iowa.

So, is Haley considering a run in 2012? The GOP could do a lot worse.

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Musgrove era boondoggle leads to Medicaid windfall.

The Barbour Administration has received verification of a financial error going back to 2003 regarding a change the Musgrove administration made to the formula for paying the state share of Medicare Part B for those known as “dual eligibles” (eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid).

The result is very good news for Mississippi. How good? Well, in a single stroke, there will be No Medicaid cuts this year. In fact, FY ’09 is now in balance.

Here is an excerpt from the statement from Governor Barbour:

While it is irritating to me that we continue to find major problems in Medicaid’s finances, all dating back to the Musgrove Administration, I do appreciate the efforts of staff at DOM in ferreting them out. This is the third problem from the Musgrove Administration with a combined impact on state finances of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now, for the fourth consecutive year, because of federal funds – first from Katrina emergency health care monies and now from this refund and premium reduction – the deficit at Medicaid has been solved for one year, with one-time, non-recurring revenue.

It would be irresponsible to think another rabbit will jump out of the hat for our next budget. It is, therefore, essential the Legislature finally enact a fair, permanent, sustainable solution to funding the state share of Medicaid as it relates to hospital distributions and reimbursements.

h/t: y’all politics

Katrina +3: Waiting on the Big Swede

Gov. Haley Barbour issued a state of emergency declaration for the southern part of Mississippi on Thursday afternoon due to the potential threat coming from Gustav, “The Big Swede.”

“Now is the time to prepare yourself, your family and your friends,” Barbour said in a statement.

Barbour also urged “all Mississippians to please take this storm seriously. One of the most important lessons we learned after Hurricane Katrina was that there is no substitute for awareness and self-help, especially in the days before a hurricane is predicted to hit.” link

We’re ready. I think. Still have a few loose ends to tie up, but most of the preparation has been done.

Related: from E-J — Pike BOS declares state of emergency

Hang in there, folks. It’s going to be an interesting week.
In the meantime, be sure to enjoy some great college football.
Go Dawgs!

Tax Soda to Fund Medicaid

How important is Medicaid?

Seriously. If Medicaid is a vital program, then why should it be subject to unsustainable funding schemes and continued political gamesmanship?

If we can agree that paying for health care for our state’s poor is a worthy program, and if the Federal government is picking up 75% of the tab, then shouldn’t our legislators figure out a way to put it on firm financial footing?

Today’s E-J editorial comes out in favor of increasing the tax on cigarettes, ostensibly to make “cigarettes more expensive so that more smokers are enticed to quit and fewer young people ever start.” Of course, the additional tax revenue doesn’t hurt either. But, if increasing the tax on cigarettes is intended to decrease the pool of smokers paying the tax, then why risk the financial future of a vital program like Medicaid on such an unsustainable revenue stream?

A tax of a few pennies [ed. note: I haven’t run the numbers, but you get the idea.] on a can of soda would be a far superior method to fund Medicaid. It would be sustainable and would spread the cost to a much larger pool of consumers instead of piling on an additional tax on smokers. And, using E-J’s own line of reasoning, Mississippi currently has the lowest tax in the nation on a can of soda, well below the national average. Even many soda drinkers would agree with this tax increase. If it weren’t for the lobbying influence of Big Soda then the soda tax would have been enacted years ago.

Enough sarcasm.

It’s time to begin thinking like problem-solvers instead of passing another tax increase on an underrepresented minority. Fund Medicaid — Tax soda now.