Rare to see it, but this should help us at least understand how broken our tax system and health care business model is broken. A group of hospitals have slammed Grover Norquist and are advocating for the renewal of a tax on their industry. Georgia Health News frames the debate:
Now, some major Georgia hospital organizations have fired back at Norquist and come out strongly in support of the tax, which expires in July.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Grady Health System in Atlanta, Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and HomeTown Health, an association of rural hospitals, delivered a letter of their own to leading Georgia officials Tuesday. It said that not renewing the provider fee could double Medicaid’s already sizable financial shortfall.
If the fee is killed, “the burden of funding Medicaid and caring for the most vulnerable Georgians would fall entirely on the backs of state and local taxpayers,’’ said the hospital group, called the Coalition for Medicaid Payment Equity.
A rejection of the hospital tax, the coalition letter said, would probably cause Medicaid patients to lose access to health care; endanger the finances of safety-net hospitals; and raise costs to the state.
They noted the hospital fee is not levied on individual patients or on hospital beds, but is based on hospital net patient revenue. More than 40 states use such provider assessments to help cover the costs of their Medicaid programs. With bad economic times battering state budgets, some states in the past five years have increased taxes already in place or approved new ones on hospitals, nursing homes or managed care plans.
This remains to be perhaps one of the most contentious issues that the legislature will face in the upcoming session, and the rules aren’t as clear as one would think. I was against the tax when it was originally issued. I’m going to have to spend a lot more time understanding the real implications of not renewing before I weigh in on the renewal. This one is complex.