The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Editorial, 5/2/8

Disagreement about how Mississippi will pay for a $90 million shortfall in the 2007-2008 Medicaid budget soared to a higher level Wednesday when the Mississippi Hospital Association reiterated its support of a higher cigarette tax as part of any special session consideration of the issue.

Gov. Barbour has said he will call a special session to deal with Medicaid finances and other issues before the 2009 fiscal year begins July 1.

Hospital association CEO Sam Cameron said Wednesday hospitals already pay $140 million in taxes supportive of Medicaid and that the association had not agreed to any kind of new bed tax for Medicaid.

We support increasing Mississippi’s cigarette tax as a matter of principle for better public and personal health. The current 18 cents per pack tax is among the nation’s lowest, yet our state spends $260 million treating smoking-induced sickness among Medicaid patients.