Medicaid provider fee set to move in the House

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Legislation that would renew the Medicaid provider fee charged to the state’s hospitals — SB 24 – is poised to move through the House of Representatives this week.

The bill got its first reading in the House on Monday and was assigned by House Speaker David Ralston to the Governmental Affairs Committee chaired by Rep. Amy Carter (R-Valdosta), which will vote on the bill Tuesday afternoon.

A notice of the committee meeting and the bill number had already been posted before SB 24 was even read or officially assigned to committee by Ralston, indicating that the legislative leadership wants the measure to be adopted quickly.

If SB 24 is voted out of committee on Tuesday, it could come to the House floor for a vote before the end of the week. If the full House adopts the bill, it moves to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk for his signature.

Hospitals since 2010 have been paying a 1.45 percent tax on their net revenues, with the money used to attract federal matching funds of more than $400 million a year for Medicaid. The fee, also known as a bed tax, is scheduled to expire on June 30.

Hospital groups support the extension of the fee and have warned that more than 10 hospitals, most of them in rural areas, would have to shut down if they do not receive the Medicaid payments.

While SB 24 affects one of the healthcare industry’s largest revenue streams, the legislative leadership has bypassed the Health and Human Services Committees that usually handle healthcare legislation.

The bill was vetted by the Regulated Industries Committee in the Senate before the Senate voted 46-9 on Jan. 17 to pass it and send it over to the House.

© 2013 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Amy Carter , bed tax , David Ralston , Georgia House , hospital provider fee , Medicaid