Lawmakers in the House and Senate are voting this week on possible fixes to the state’s Medicaid Enhancement Tax, which two superior court judges have ruled to be unconstitutional.
The competing efforts should pass in their respective chambers.
“That’s though when the difficult part really begins, reconciling the proposals, and with luck, squaring them with the hospitals that sued over this tax," NHPR's Josh Rogers reports. "And also coming up with something that will pass legal muster, assuming the Supreme Court does not see this tax as constitutional, as two superior court justices already have ruled.”
A proposal put forth by Senate President Chuck Morse would phase out the tax, while House lawmakers are weighing two proposals.
One House plan would broaden the tax by expanding it to cover more healthcare providers while lowering the rate.
The other seeks to ensure that all the money collected by the tax would go directly to healthcare.
Given that there’s roughly $175 million in the current state budget that relies on this tax, Rogers says scrutiny from bond rating agencies may put pressure on lawmakers to get something done sooner than later.