Barbour: Medicaid ‘ticking time bomb’

Barbour said if Medicaid were allowed to run a deficit going forward, it would be a “ticking time bomb for taxpayers.”

“The Mississippi Hospital Association wants to be above the law,” Barbour said, referring to the MHA’s assertion that the law not be enforced for FY10. “I can’t agree to that. That law is the right law. Lots of people in this Legislature voted for it (in 1988). We can’t just throw it out.”

Barbour and the MHA have been at loggerheads for more than a year over Barbour’s proposal to enact a $90-million tax on hospitals to fund the state’s Medicaid obligation. Barbour has recently backed off that $90-million figure, saying Tuesday morning that he would agree to the $60 million budget negotiators signed off on over the weekend.

“I’ve tried to be reasonable in dealing with (the MHA),” Barbour said. “They just don’t want to pay their fair share.”

MHA officials and hospital CEOs say the tax will lead to cuts in staff and services.

House Medicaid Committee chairman Rep. Dirk Dedeaux, D-Perkinston, and Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee chair Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, crafted the weekend’s Medicaid funding resolution.

“He specifically wants the authority to cut the people that he is trying to put a tax on right now,” Dedeaux said.

MS Business Journal
6/23/9