WSJ: Bed tax in states such as Georgia is ‘fraud’

Note to Georgia Republicans: Not everyone on the right is convinced that saying “But, the hospitals asked us to tax, er, fee them!” justifies the Medicaid bed tax, er, assessment fee passed two years ago and possibly up for renewal in next year’s legislative session.

In fact, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal suggests this bed tax, er, assessment fee is ripe for elimination if President Obama and Congress are serious about even modest reforms to entitlement programs. From an editorial today:

A deal also ought to end the long-running “bed tax” scam in which states charge hospitals a fee to increase health-care spending and thus their federal matching rate. Then they launder some of the money back to the hospitals to offset the fee. This is real waste, fraud and abuse, not the talking-point version.

Who in the General Assembly will carry the bill to renew the tax, er, fee and explain why it’s not a “scam” that’s “real waste, fraud and abuse, not the talking-point version”?

– By Kyle Wingfield

Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

154 comments Add your comment

MANGLER

December 3rd, 2012
11:50 am

So, the State charges a tax, er, fee simply to increase how much the Federal Govt gives to the State? Yeah, that sounds legit. Didn’t realize that. Thanks for pointing it out. Would eliminating that (and other) taxes, er, fees help reduce the cost of a tissue at a hospital from $4 each?

right to free speech.

December 3rd, 2012
11:50 am

Obama isn’t serious about anything except taking your money & giving it away.

MANGLER

December 3rd, 2012
11:51 am

ooh, my first 1st Yay! carry on.

JamVet

December 3rd, 2012
11:57 am

…scam in which states charge hospitals a fee to increase health-care spending…

Isn’t it time to shrink Georgia’s government down to the size where we can drown it in a thimble?

JF McNamara

December 3rd, 2012
12:10 pm

If all of your rhetoric is about not raising taxes, it makes it really hard to govern responsibly. Scams and frauds to push our tax burden on the feds is all you are left with unless you plan on cutting things you really need.

carlosgvv

December 3rd, 2012
12:15 pm

“then they(politicians) launder some of the money back to the hospitals”

And the rest of the money, no doubt, goes into the politicians pockets.

So, don’t look for any in our Republican dominated General Assembly to derail this gravy train.

Hillbilly D

December 3rd, 2012
12:27 pm

This is just another example of why the entire federal, state and local tax systems to be blown up and started anew. Maybe if we go back and lick our calf over, we can do a better job, next time.

Don't Tread

December 3rd, 2012
12:35 pm

Nearly everything connected with government is a fraud/waste/scam/kickback scheme these days. The only “innovations” are the brand new scams designed to separate productive people and their money.

Kyle Wingfield

December 3rd, 2012
12:36 pm

MANGLER @ 11:50: Prices are definitely at the heart of the issue when it comes to health care. Eliminating this tax/fee may not do that, but neither will keeping it in place.

Dusty

December 3rd, 2012
12:44 pm

Kyle,

I think we need a little more information on this four dollar bed tax.. Maybe I need lunch but I don’t see the total picture of this pay plan. Correct me here.

GA hospitals pay the state four dollars for each bed a Medicaid patients fills.

The Feds then match that four dollar total with a payment to Georgia. (not hospitals?)

Georgia then sends Fed money to same hospitals that sent original 4$ fund total or does it go into a general fund?

Is the object of fthis plan to get more Fed money to hospitals or just a tax to get Fed money into Georgia in general?

There must be some reason for passing such a plan but it doesn’t sound like a real money-maker for Georgia. Is there some other reason? Do all states try to get as much money from the Feds as possible?I

I believe that state Medicaid funds run short every year in Georgia . I also believe that the plan for ObamaCare will greatly increase the number of Medicaid patients. Does any agency ever stay within budget, state or federal??

JDW

December 3rd, 2012
12:49 pm

So the same Repugnican Admistration that will not accept federal money to expand Medicare coverage for the poor, even in the face of paying a share of said money, is scamming the same federal government out of money to bolster the budget…WOW and you wonder why we don’t trust Repugnicans.

jose

December 3rd, 2012
12:54 pm

Actually, the hospital tax in GA was pushed by Sonny Perdue and supported by a bunch of otherwise anti-tax Republicans,many of whom hold power today.

Kyle Wingfield

December 3rd, 2012
12:56 pm

Dusty @ 12:44: The $4 reference was not to the bed tax.

For a good explanation of how it works, see the section under the “Leveraging federal dollars” subhed in this news story.

jose

December 3rd, 2012
12:57 pm

JDW, to be fair, you are talking about expanding Medicaid, not Medicare, and the problem is that Medicaid provides extremely generous benefits while paying only about 70 percent of the actual cost of care provided. President Obama has proposed expanding to 100 percent for any new enrollees as part of Pelosi-care but only for two years. After that, the states are on the hook for hundreds of millions each. That is why Republicans have resisted.

Georgia

December 3rd, 2012
1:03 pm

Kyle wants to know why there is a bed tax. Maybe Egyptian cotton is more antiseptic. I want to know if Kyle has ever stood on call at an ER; ever stepped on a bedpan to get a signature from a patient?

South GA Food Taxer

December 3rd, 2012
1:11 pm

Look, you folks need to get real about taxes. I can’t say this to my own consituients while campaigning, but the bottom line is, we need those dollars. This is just a good way to get them without people seeing the direct taxation. I made the same argument when I tried to convince the General Assembly to reinstate the sales tax on food. Folks won’t notice and it will generate the revenue income we have to have.

Georgia

December 3rd, 2012
1:30 pm

There’s a laundry list of reasons why the bed tax is wrong. The egg tax! There aints no reason to veto that.

JDW

December 3rd, 2012
1:36 pm

@jose, you are correct it is Medicaid…my bad on the typo. As for being fair let me put it you this way. Georgians will pay a pro rata share of the costs of the program while rejecting $33 billion in aggregate benefits. All because of an estimated $250 million in costs per year for 10 years. To put that in perspective we are talking about a budget “hit” of around 1.25%. That is a rounding error in a $19 billion + budget.

JDW

December 3rd, 2012
1:43 pm

For those that still refuse to notice that our system is creating tremendous inequities….

“In the third quarter, corporate earnings were $1.75 trillion, up 18.6% from a year ago, according to last week’si gross domestic product report. That took after-tax profits to their greatest percentage of GDP in history.

But the record profits come at the same time that workers’ wages have fallen to their lowest-ever share of GDP”

http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/03/news/economy/record-corporate-profits/index.html?iid=Lead

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

December 3rd, 2012
1:47 pm

Oh, heavens! We’re “unequal”!

Boo-hoo! Cry me a frikkin river.

In case you missed it, JDW, the Constitution doesn’t protect equality of outcomes, only of opportunity.

JDW

December 3rd, 2012
1:58 pm

@Tiberuis…”Oh, heavens! We’re “unequal”!”

I am sure things are just rosy in Tiberiusville…well except for that whole election thingy…however it is pretty short sighted not to notice a problem when companies are making the most money in history and workers are making the least.

Then again I used short sighted and Tiberius in the same sentence…why those go together just like peanut butter and jelly.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

December 3rd, 2012
2:05 pm

The difference, JDW, is that I believe that the free market (or at least what is left of it after you liberals have eviscerated it) will correct itself, rather than relying on the government to do your dirty work as you advocate.

The biggest problem is that you and your liberal buddies have managed to wring every shred of initiative out of much of the American public, and created a class of people who wait for government to solve their problems whether it is government’s role to solve them or not.

jose

December 3rd, 2012
2:09 pm

JDW, when calculating cost benefit, it is important to note that Obama care is actually insurance reform, not comprehensive health care reform. It expands coverage without doing much to either control cost or increase access. For example, Georgia, like most states, is severely short of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other care workers. As noted, Medicaid does not pay the full cost of coverage so providers, who by virtue of demographics, will have no shortage of patients with health coverage to choose from. In the end, they won’t choose underpaying Medicaid patients. Also, demand for service will drive the creation of “concierge care” by which those who can afford it will pay a premium up front fee in exchange for a provider’s agreement to limit the size of his practice and guarantee of a timely appointment. Anticipating this outcome, Piedmont, Wellstar, Emory and all other large providers are aggressively setting up concierge or “executive-care” practices within their system.

JDW

December 3rd, 2012
2:13 pm

@jose, yep all valid issues however, it does not excuse the decision to turn down the funding that would benefit so many. The rate of demand is not going to change much in either case…what would have changed is the method of delivering against that demand. These people are going to end up in ER’s unable to pay the bill.

Steve

December 3rd, 2012
2:13 pm

Tiberius, why are you always pimping for the rich?

JDW

December 3rd, 2012
2:18 pm

@Tiberius…”The biggest problem is that you and your liberal buddies have managed to wring every shred of initiative out of much of the American public, and created a class of people who wait for government to solve their problems whether it is government’s role to solve them or not.”

Absolute hose$h!t. You are one of many that pine for an era that never existed…”The Good Ole Days”. Get your head back in the sunshinge and move forward rather than backwards and you would be a lot better off.

America today remains on the forefront of innovation and problem solving. Where we lag is in equality. We are in the process of creating a divided society and that, not debt or taxes, is what will kill us if we are not careful.

Steve

December 3rd, 2012
2:21 pm

I agree, that is horse____. The welfare that is sucking the life out of this country is corporate welfare, and the lowering of taxes on the wealthiest to the point where all of the money is funneled up and the ranks of the poor increase, the middle class shrinks. This is where we are today, one leg deep into a growing plutocracy.

Rocky

December 3rd, 2012
2:22 pm

Corporate America is doing nothing illegal in regards to the disparities JDW posted. However, they should expect the loyalty they are showing.

Life is a two way street. If there are cases where it is difficult to find the best and brightest, those companies can refer to that study.

Some companies understand this and compensate accordingly and other companies, especially older and larger ones rely on the statistics and their overall employee tenure to keep down wages.

Example: The major employer in Atlanta is no longer the draw of some of the best and brightest it once was. There are exceptions for sure and of course they can always fill an opening, but overall it is a shell in terms of the loyalty they once gave and expected. Pay and benefit decreases are no coincidental variables in the equation.

They have made a choice and many ex and current workers have made theirs.

You get what you pay for

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

December 3rd, 2012
2:23 pm

Steve, I am the one person who pimps for no one but myself, because that’s all I care about and can affect directly with my actions.

As to JDW’s non-rebuttal, 52% of Americans who today rely on some type of government assistance would disagree with your inability to rebut my contention except to call it a name. Our innovation is now rooted in how many ways we can find a government assistance program. Our problem solving is rooted in finding ways to qualify for them.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

December 3rd, 2012
2:23 pm

But the record profits come at the same time that workers’ wages have fallen to their lowest-ever share of GDP
———-

Soooooo…higher productivity is a bad thing?

Are wages going up or down in absolute terms? Stating them as a percentage of GDP is meaningless.

Reality

December 3rd, 2012
2:26 pm

@right to free speech,

You’re kidding, right? This farce (bed tax/fee) was enacted by the republicans here in Georgia. You have the gall to blame President Obama?

How stupid can you be?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

December 3rd, 2012
2:30 pm

“You have the gall to blame President Obama?”

Why not? Doesn’t Obama blame Bush for everything that has gone wrong in the last 12 years?

JDW

December 3rd, 2012
2:30 pm

@Tiberius…”52% of Americans who today rely on some type of government assistance”

More complete horse$h!t. A preonderance of those you cite rely on Social Security and Medicare…both programs that they paid into for participation. That is not reliance, that is recovering one’s investment.

Rocky

December 3rd, 2012
2:31 pm

Barry

Relative to inflation real wages have stagnated over the last 30 yrs. Some years there were increases, but overall stagnation as been the trend.

JDW

December 3rd, 2012
2:33 pm

@LBB….”Soooooo…higher productivity is a bad thing?”

Nooooooo…but we aren’t talking about productivity, we are talking about wages as a percent of our economy. If you want to talk productivity you can start here…psssssttttt we are fooling ourselves.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/january_february_2012/features/the_myth_of_american_productiv034576.php

Reality

December 3rd, 2012
2:34 pm

@TIberius -

In an idea world, you may be right.

However, our world is far from ideal. We have these political PACs that gather tons of money from wealthy individuals and corporations to support candidates for their own selfish gains. They flood the television with commercials that twist so-called ‘facts’ and distort the truth to slant viewers towards their position. Often, there are total lies in these commercials but no one regulates these lies!

How is this ideal? How is this fair?

Need I give you more examples where your idealistic view simply is not reality? If not, then you really need to gain another perspective on the real world and how to solve problems within reality.

Steve

December 3rd, 2012
2:35 pm

(and the banjo music from the movie “Deliverance” starts playing)

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

December 3rd, 2012
2:43 pm

” It’s not even remotely clear.”

An unsurprising response from John Q.

Wilbur

December 3rd, 2012
2:52 pm

Should “wealthy” individuals have less freedom than other people?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

December 3rd, 2012
2:54 pm

“A preonderance of those you cite rely on Social Security and Medicare…both programs that they paid into for participation. That is not reliance, that is recovering one’s investment.”

You mean that we are forced to contribute to, even if we don’t want to, don’t you, JDW?

And while you are partially right that it is recovering one’s money, it is certainly not an “investment”.

Rocky

December 3rd, 2012
2:55 pm

Wilbur

And you have any example of wealthy individuals having less freedoms?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

December 3rd, 2012
2:56 pm

Reality, we also have unions who also gather in hundreds of millions of dollars (by force) and put those same lying commercials on TV.

No different.

That’s REALITY.

JDW

December 3rd, 2012
3:08 pm

@Tiberius…”And while you are partially right that it is recovering one’s money, it is certainly not an “investment”.”

Whine all you want, your pay your money and recieve a series of cash flows…that is an investment. You want great returns…live longer.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

December 3rd, 2012
3:11 pm

Stating wages as a percent of GDP over time is meaningless, and in fact could be quite misleading. For illustration, consider a worker who triples his output and gets a 100% raise–his wages as a percent of output dropped, while in absolute terms they doubled.

Think before posting, JDW.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

December 3rd, 2012
3:11 pm

Nice try at deflection, JDW, but in case you missed it (and you always do), an investment is something YOU have control over. An investment is something your heirs can inherit. An investment is YOURS.

Social Security and Medicare fail that basic test.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

December 3rd, 2012
3:15 pm

Median wages increased every year and went from $21767 in 2001 to $26514 in 2008. In 2011 they were just $26965.

Obozo: Inferior to Our President Bush.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

December 3rd, 2012
3:17 pm

“Think before posting, JDW.”

That’ll be the day . . . . ;)

JamVet

December 3rd, 2012
3:17 pm

Obozo: Inferior to Our President Bush.

LIL BB, the Democrat’s secret weapon…

Rocky

December 3rd, 2012
3:22 pm

So the wages went up because of who?

The economy imploded because of who?

Reality says there are many variables to each one.

Some will give credit when it meets their narative and deflect when it doesn’t.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

December 3rd, 2012
3:25 pm

“Some will give credit when it meets their narative and deflect when it doesn’t.”
——–

A nice summation of the Obozo receptacle’s creed.