Mississippi lawmakers stall in Medicaid tax talks

Published 11:38 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mississippi lawmakers are still debating whether to tax hospitals to help pay for Medicaid, the government health program for the needy.

House and Senate negotiators missed a Monday night deadline to agree on a plan. They kept the issue alive by filing what they call a “dummy bill” — a proposal that will be sent back for more talks.

Gov. Haley Barbour wants lawmakers to set a hospital tax that will generate $90 million a year. It would replace a similar tax the state collected for about a dozen years. The federal government blocked the previous hospital tax in 2005.

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House leaders are proposing a $45 million hospital tax, but the House and Senate haven’t agreed on an amount.

The bill is House Bill 105.