Wednesday afternoon at the Gold Dome was dominated by a hearing on HB 307 which would impose a 1.6 % fee on hospitals. The bill is a priority of Governor Perdue’s, and he has stated that the tax is necessary to fill the $300 million shortfall in Georgia’s Medicaid program for FY 11.  Speaker after speaker, representing hospitals and physicians and the business community across the state, rose to address the House Appropriations Committee’s Special Subcommittee and express opposition to the hospital tax, which they have dubbed the “sick tax.”

 At the same time, most speakers expressed support for increasing the tax on tobacco.  They also stated that the legislature must do something to address the Medicaid shortfall, and that cutting provider rates, which is the alternative the Governor has mentioned if HB 307 does not pass, is not  acceptable.