Gov. Nathan Deal's plan to avoid losing more than $450 million in federal money for Medicaid has cleared another legislative hurdle.
A House committee on Tuesday endorsed the proposal to let an appointed board set special hospital fees to support Medicaid. Senate Bill 24 is headed to the full House.
The so-called "Medicaid bed tax" is a political conundrum. Hospitals currently pay a tax on net patient revenue. That money is used as match funding to get the federal Medicaid support. The scheme boosts payments to hospitals and other health care providers who treat Medicaid patients.
But the tax expires June 30. Lawmakers don't want to lose the money, but are equally hesitant to renew anything called a tax. Deal's idea is intended to spare them the explicit tax vote.