Hospital bed taxes: A new trend?

Following Georgia's lead, hospitals in Utah might continue to pay a bed tax for another three years, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Yesterday, the state Senate House and Human Services committee unanimously approved the bill (S.B.166), which moves on to the Utah Senate.

Hospitals are throwing their support behind the bill, as the bed tax includes federal matching funds and represents almost a third of their Medicaid budgets, the article noted.

A similar tax created some controversy among hospitals in Georgia, some of which claim it provides an unfair advantage to hospitals that have larger Medicaid caseloads, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

But amid the controversy, the Georgia House last week approved the legislation to renew the 1.45 percent tax levied on all healthcare systems, reported The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

For some Georgia hospitals, the bill, which now awaits Gov. Nathan Deal's signature, represents a win.

"The legislation just breathed life into 27 hospitals," Jimmy Lewis, CEO of HomeTown Health, a network of rural hospitals and providers, told the Journal-Constitution.

However, the Georgia Hospital Association noted the bill won't resolve Medicaid funding problems during tough economic times.

Meanwhile, hospital executives in Arizona are backing a plan by Gov. Jan Brewer that would include a $220 million annual bed tax to pay the state's share of Medicaid expansion, FierceHealthFinance previously reported.

For more:
- here's the Utah bill (SB166)
- read the Salt Lake Tribune article
- here's the Atlanta Journal Constitution article