Barbour chastised over remarks about paying Medicaid share

While state lawmakers are wrangling over how to plug a $90 million gap in the Medicaid budget, the Mississippi Hospital Association says a proposed hospital tax is not the solution.

MHA President Sam Cameron used a news conference Thursday to chastise Gov. Haley Barbour for statements that hospitals need to pay “their fair share” of the Medicaid burden.

“To say that we do not pay taxes is incorrect,” Cameron said. “In fact, most hospitals are some of the largest ad valorem (taxpayers) in their jurisdiction.”

But in a statement, Barbour warned of “epic” problems if the hospitals and their Democratic allies in the House do not relent.

“The Mississippi Hospital Association wants Mississippi taxpayers to shoulder a $90 million tax break for its members, plain and simple,” he said. “Reinstatement of the $90 million tax hospitals willingly paid for 15 years is a critical part of balancing the state budget and providing a fair, permanent, sustainable funding source for Medicaid.