Georgia governor signs hospital ‘provider fee’ measure

Gov. Nathan Deal. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Gov. Nathan Deal. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Georgia’s Medicaid program received a shot in the arm on Monday when Gov. Nathan Deal signed a measure into law that will avert a roughly $900 million gap in Medicaid funding.

The governor signed Senate Bill 70 into law after both chambers swiftly approved the measure, which allows the Department of Community Health board to levy a hospital provider fee for another three years.

The so-called “bed tax” requires hospitals to pay 1.45 percent of their net patient revenue which the state then uses to draw down additional federal funding to help fund Medicaid and bolster hospitals that provide care to uninsured patients. The funds add up: The hospital fee raises about $311 million and allows the state to tap another $600 million in federal funding.


First established in 2010, the fight over the legislation ignited a debate in 2013 when lawmakers voted to extend it four years. Anti-tax groups at the time criticized the measure as a tax hike and called it a gift to lawmakers eager to avoid a direct vote on extending the fee.

But Republicans dodged a touchy fight this year as Deal and other GOP leaders quickly united behind the measure, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Only 17 lawmakers in both chambers voted against it, and an effort by fiscal conservatives to shorten the extension to one year was roundly defeated.

Much of the concern this year stemmed from questions about whether President Donald Trump’s plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act would make the program obsolete. That prompted some legislators to back new limits for the program’s extension.

“The blanket three-year renewal of the provider fee is the wrong way to go,” said state Rep. Geoff Duncan, a Cumming Republican and likely candidate for higher office. “In my mind, putting a one-year shot clock gives the Trump Administration the time they need to develop a strategy and put the best foot forward.”

The supporters, including state Sen. Butch Miller and other sponsors, argued the state health board has the power to cut its collection of the payment if that happens. So did Deal, who commended the “courage” of lawmakers to quickly adopt the measure to allow a new hospital provider fee, which the state health department is expected to soon enact.

“Because of their leadership and quick action on this matter,” he said, “we will not have to take away resources from other portions of the budget.”

 


 

 

Reader Comments 1

43 comments
Ray Quest
Ray Quest

ok band-aid on a gun shot stop playing expand Medicaid in Georgia

Rocky Buldo
Rocky Buldo

We like our Good Old Boys fat, happy and hidden.

Steve Pritchett
Steve Pritchett

Please find more ways to tax the working citizens to pay for things for people who don't. Come on I know you can think of more.

Carol Barker Lawson
Carol Barker Lawson

Don't think badly about yourself, you didn't know ! Google how many illegals are getting benefits that they are not legally entitled to.... You and Judy both need to learn some manners. I may be the person who saves your life one day!

Ralph Johnson
Ralph Johnson

Guess Who's fault is that Nathan Deal? Yours when the Federal government was going to give 100% money back so the state could build up its saving for next 5 years than drop down to 80%.

Charles Jones
Charles Jones

I'm proud of my Representative for voting NO.

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

So governor your charging hospitals who will turn around and raise the money charging more to thier patients.

Lynn Bollinger
Lynn Bollinger

How much longer till he taxes the ill for getting sick?

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

They already do. The insurance companies raise rates so they can cover the bribes they pay Republicans.

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

Taxation is simply the process of all of us pooling a portion of our resources so that we can all benefit from things and services that none of us could possibly afford individually.

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

Do you have your own hospital, complete with everything you might ever need? Or do you rely on hospital care that gets much of its funding from taxes, like all hospitals do?

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

Only about 3% of US children are homeschooled. That doesn't seem to be so many to me.

Matt Steffney
Matt Steffney

I never voluntarily "pooled resources" to underwrite endless Middle Eastern wars, wasteful socialized medicine, and run amuck policing.

Andy Young
Andy Young

Home school is a plot to keep rural kids dumb, like their parents. I rest my case, bitches.

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

Quite the opposite; taxation creates prosperity.

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

I bet you're smart enough to think of other examples of how taxes create prosperity.

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

Did you get a public education? Anyone you know get a public education? Did taxes pay for that? Does our economy thrive because of an educated workforce?

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

Do you drive on roads or get goods delivered to your home? Did fuel taxes not pay for those roads, or did you buy your own roads? If you did, how many roads did you build before you ran short of money to finish? Did your road get past your property line? Make it all the way to work?

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

Did you fully fund your own internet (which would disqualify it as an Internet), or do you use the very same internet the rest of us use, which has its beginning in taxpayer-funded military communications projects?

Matt Steffney
Matt Steffney

Government has no magical, unaccountable acumen to provide any of these services. Why do you think so many families home school?

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

Even homeschooling families rely on taxes in educating their children. And I know of no homeschool college degrees. Do you?

Michelle Beasley
Michelle Beasley

Why do we have to be taxed for Medicaid when they government would have paid georgia for 5 years free then 80%... for Medicaid expansion. THE republicans DO NOT CARE about poor people! PERIOD! They want to tax thru corporations so they can get kick-backs FROM lobbyists! PLAIN and simple!

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

Of course, expanding Medicaid would have been the better option, but we surely can't have our state Republican leaders getting us into a plan put forward by Democrats, no matter how much sense it makes.

Denise Bennett Burks
Denise Bennett Burks

This bill will pass the cost along to the public. It is not avoiding anything.

Denise Bennett Burks
Denise Bennett Burks

Daniel. They were trying to spin the story, not admitting the cost was just being passed to us in a different way

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

Who do you think pays for indigent care, now? When nobody pays, hospitals close.

Ted Wetherby
Ted Wetherby

Daniel Eason wouldn't it have been cheaper to expand Medicaid so people under insured or no insurance could see a general practitioner for 200 dollars instead of going to the ER for 1000+ dollars. either way tax payers will foot the bill but the state looses out on billions a year not expanding Medicaid because you know democrats.

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

No, they weren't. They merely told us what was done in the legislation.

joecrazy8798
joecrazy8798

This is wrong.we have people receiving income taxes in the thousands.Who don't pay a dime in taxes.Wonder why this country is in debt.



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