There is confusion to say the least at the Capitol Building.
The papers are reporting that an agreement on the budget has been reached. Yet, the governor last night sent us all a communication saying that the senate and he are of one accord that there is no agreement on Medicaid; and, that until he gets his $90 million and hospitals are removed from any protection of future cuts, he will not call any special session to pass a budget.
House conferees were meeting this morning to determine what position they would take on this latest position.
Here’s the policy issue: The House conferees have agreed to go to the latest figure the Senate was at to put a special tax of $60 million on the hospitals to help fund Medicaid. But, in return, the conferees wanted assurances that since the hospitals would be paying a special “Medicaid Tax”, they would be exempt from any future, if any, cuts by the governor.
I don’t know about you, but that makes sense to me. If you are the only one paying an additional tax to fund something (doctors, pharmacists, medical supply businesses, clinics, nurses who benefit from Medicaid reimbursement for their services would not), why should you be exposed to future cuts for as long as you are paying the bill? I understand that hospitals are taxed for this additional assessment based on their total revenues. I have been told that that includes revenues from paying patients, revenues from Medicare, Medicaid, and other government reimbursements, AND revenue from revenues the hospitals will never collect, but will charge to a non-paying or indigent person.
The hospital’s position seems reasonable to me.
To add fuel to the pressure on the House, healthcare providers have been told they will no longer receive reimbursements for treating Medicaid patients until the budget impasse has passed. On June 30, if the governor does not call us back into special session SOON, Medicaid will cease to exist.
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