House approves its Medicaid enhancement tax fix
The House’s plan, Senate Bill 369, would begin to answer two superior court decisions finding the MET unconstitutional because it taxes hospitals, but not other providers of the same health care services.
The plan clarifies lawmakers’ intent when they approved the MET and dedicated its revenue for health care programs. The bill also eliminates a provision that allows the money to go into the state’s general fund.
“This puts more cards on the table from the House. If you have more cards on the table, you can play more cards and if you play more cards you have a better chance of winning,” said Deputy House Minority Leader David Hess, R-Hooksett, who offered the plan. “This takes us to the committee of conference with the Senate with more cards on the table.”
“The whole thing is this is a shell game that increases by 5.5 percent the cost of medical care across the board,” said Rep. Jordan Ulery, R-Hudson. “This will give us more cards on the table, but the entire concept needs to be examined.”
The Wallner proposal clarifies lawmakers’ findings and intent when the tax was first imposed in 1991 and reiterates why hospital in-patient and out-patient services are unique.
Hess’s amendment would add four more classes to the MET: ambulatory surgical centers, therapists, laboratory and radiation, and emergency ambulance services, all mentioned in Superior Court Judge Philip Mangones’s ruling declaring the tax unconstitutional.
The Senate plan would reduce the current tax rate from 5.5 percent over the next three years to 4 percent with an eye to eliminating it in the future.