The Georgia House of Representatives is expected to vote Friday on a 1.45% tax, or “provider fee,” on net patient revenue from hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to help fill a shortfall in the state's $3.6 billion Medicaid budget for fiscal 2011, which begins July 1. Friday is known as “crossover day” and marks the last day that bills must be approved by one legislative chamber to get on the calendar for the other chamber to consider.
Bert Brantley, a spokesman for Gov. Sonny Perdue, said the state had been able to knock a projected $500 million Medicaid shortfall down to about $275 million and had proposed a 1.6% tax on patient revenue to make up the difference. It would also increase the Medicaid reimbursement pool by about $70 million. He said the proposal was greeted with fierce opposition at the first committee meeting where it was discussed.
“A parade of well-paid folks showed up to say hospitals can't afford it,” Brantley said. The governor then submitted a counter proposal that included a 10.25% Medicaid reimbursement cut and removal of the sales tax exemption enjoyed by not-for-profit hospitals.
Calling it “the most palatable option,” Georgia Hospital Association spokesman Kevin Bloye said the 1.45% tax was agreed to late Monday night. “We're actively supporting it,” he said.