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Medicaid officials: Reform to be costly

JACKSON — Mississippi Medicaid officials say the federal healthcare overhaul could push as many as 400,000 additional people onto the rolls of the state program.

Medicaid director Bob Robinson said in a news release yesterday that the state is struggling to pay for its current program.

About one-fifth of Mississippi residents are already covered by Medicaid, a government health insurance program for the needy. Robinson said by 2014, enrollment could rise to one-third of the population.

Advocates for the poor say some of the people who could be added to Medicaid are now having a hard time because they can’t afford private insurance.

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