The surprisingly personal political battle between Barbour and the leadership of the MHA over Barbour’s “hospital tax” lasted some three years.
When I first began reporting on the “hospital tax” question in mid-2006, Barbour and the Division of Medicaid said that the Legislature had known for years that the state’s Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital funding plan was questioned by the federal government.
Both said that the Public Health committees in both houses were specifically advised during the 2006 regular session that the feds would disallow the former funding plan on June 30, 2006. But lawmakers like respected state Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, disputed that claim.
“We did not know there was a problem for 2007,” Brown told me on July 16, 2006. “Certainly if we had known about this during the session, we would have addressed it somehow. It was never mentioned in the (2006) tobacco tax debate, which would have been the logical place for it to come up.”
The federal Medicaid disallowance of the state’s former DSH funding mechanism left the state’s Medicaid program short $90 million that had previously been used to draw down another $270 million in federal matching funds, according to Division of Medicaid executive director Bob Robinson.