Standoff personal between Barbour, MHA

Mississippi hospitals can look at the current standoff between Gov. Haley Barbour and the House over Medicaid funding and Barbour’s proposed “hospital tax” in one of two ways.

They can legitimately praise Sam W. Cameron, the Mississippi Hospital Association’s longtime president and CEO, for keeping the Legislature from bowing to pressure from Barbour to reimplement the annual $90 million provider assessment that was in place for 15 years before the federal government changed the rules that made that assessment advantageous to hospitals.

Alternately, they can also blame Cameron for going to the mat so vigorously with Barbour over the issue so as to paint a giant bull’s eye on hospitals as a group and MHA as an institution. The political battle between Barbour and Cameron has become so personal as to lead many Capitol observers to ponder whether or not Cameron has actually become a liability to the hospitals.