KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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From The Legislatures: Ga. Debates Hospital ‘Bed Tax’; Minn. Eyes Financial Assistance For Premium Hikes

State lawmakers in Georgia, Minnesota, Florida, Texas and Massachusetts consider health care measures.

Stat: Georgia Lawmakers Debating Hospital Tax With Medicaid Implications
GOP lawmakers in Georgia are facing a tough question when they reconvene Monday: Should the state continue to do what nearly every other state in the US does — tax its hospitals? Georgia collects what’s known as a hospital provider fee, also known as a “bed tax,” that’s set to expire halfway through 2017. The state’s health department takes in an estimated $280 million each year from its hospitals by levying a 1.45-percent tax on net profits (critical-access, psychiatric, and state-owned hospitals are exempt). The state then uses those funds to draw down nearly $600 million in matching federal Medicaid funds. (Blau, 1/6)

The Minneapolis Star Tribune: Gov. Mark Dayton Unveils $300 Million Tax Plan While GOP Unveils Health Care Blueprint
Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders volleyed competing, big-ticket spending proposals Thursday that if enacted would deliver tax cuts to farmers and families paying for child care, and provide quick financial assistance to people facing steep premium hikes on their health insurance. Combined, the proposals by the DFL governor and Republicans who control the Legislature would cost the state $600 million — about $300 million each. Coming in the first week of the session, they set an early framework for negotiations and possible clashes between Dayton and legislators in the coming weeks and months. (Lopez 1/5)

Pioneer Press: Lawmakers Are Trying Again To Pass Health Insurance Relief. Here’s What It Would Do:
Thousands of Minnesotans are facing a similar crisis this year: skyrocketing health insurance rates. After failing to reach agreement on a relief package last year, Minnesota legislative leaders on Thursday rolled out a new plan that includes immediate relief as well as some longer-term changes. But this proposal from House and Senate Republicans differs in some key ways from what DFL Gov. Mark Dayton wants to address the problems in the state’s individual health insurance market. (Montgomery, 1/5)

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