Medicaid funding remains unresolved in special session

Legislation that hikes cigarette and liquor taxes to pay for Medicaid failed to clear the Mississippi House Thursday night, although it could come up for debate again as a special session continues.

Even if House Bill 17 survives that chamber, it appears doomed in the Senate. Most state senators support a tax on hospitals. Also, Gov. Haley Barbour is expected to veto a tobacco tax hike.

Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant called the House measure “an exercise in futility.”

“I want a bill that funds a $90 million deficit, passes the House and Senate and is signed by the governor,” he said. “We can do that (today) and go home.”

But House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, said the House “is apprehensive that costs will be dumped on third parties or individuals that ultimately could lead to higher monthly insurance premiums for individuals, employers and governments.”

Clarion Ledger
5/30/8