After closed-door meetings Thursday between Gov. Haley Barbour, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, House Speaker Billy McCoy and Senate and House leaders in the trenches of the ongoing battle to fund a $90 million Medicaid deficit, leaders emerged using words like “progress” and “optimism.”
But it is obvious that as the June 26 resumption of the special legislative session approaches, tensions are rising between the House and Senate positions on funding Medicaid.
Barbour has taken a position on how to fund Medicaid: He supports a Senate Bill 2103 that would institute a $167-per-day “bed tax” on state hospitals. SB 2103, authored by Democratic state Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory, passed the Senate by a vote of 41 to 7.
It’s important that the Medicaid funding debate not get bogged down in partisan politics. Bryan is a Senate Democrat who has significant expertise in government finance. The suggestion made by some that he would surrender his principles to hold onto his Senate Public Health Committee chair is absurd.