The latest staredown between the Democratic-leaning House of Representative and Republican Gov. Haley Barbour and his allies in the Senate involves how the state will fill a $90 million Medicaid gap. With federal matching dollars, the $90 million actually means about $360 million for the state to provide health care services to about a quarter of its population.
House members have considered increasing the tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack while Barbour has proposed an assessment, which most call a tax, on the state’s hospitals. The cigarette tax hike died in a Senate committee earlier this session.
Senate leaders say they are meeting daily with Mississippi Hospital Association and Medicaid representatives and Barbour’s staff to craft a solution. One idea, which officials said would not involve a cigarette tax hike or a tax on hospitals, surfaced Friday, but details have yet to be revealed publicly.