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House, Senate suggest Medicaid enhancement tax fix
The Senate and House over the next two days will approve their preferred solutions to fix the tax two superior courts found unconstitutional this year because it taxes hospitals but not other providers of the same health care services.
While the Senate plan — proposed by Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem — reduces what hospitals have to pay, it boosts payments to Medicaid service providers. The state, which has the lowest reimbursement rate in the country paying about 50 cents on the dollar for Medicaid services, would increase payments to near Medicare rates of about 100 percent of cost.
Under the bill, lawmakers will have to decide how to cut $56 million from the fiscal 2015 budget and a reduction of about that amount of general funds every year going forward. For the next biennium, general funds would be reduced by about $112 million.
The Senate Finance Committee voted 5-0 last week to recommend the plan be passed by the Senate this week. The House amendment is a combination of two plans presented by House Finance Committee Chair Mary Jane Wallner, D-Concord, and Deputy Minority Leader David Hess, R-Hooksett.
In- and out-patient services are among the 19 classes of health care the federal government allows states to tax in order to match federal money through the Medicaid program.
Those four services were mentioned in Superior Court Judge Philip Mangones’s ruling.
The House and Senate are expected to approve their own plans and have a joint conference committee on the two bills in an attempt to reach a compromise by the end of the month.
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