Governor Barbour’s Hospital Tax Unethical

Governor Barbour is pushing a tax on hospitals to raise the $90 Million needed to offset a Medicaid deficit. Legislators have urged that instead of placing the tax on hospitals to instead place the tax on cigarettes.  Mississippi currently has the lowest taxes on tabacco in the country.  Barbour has stated that he would veto any tax on cigarettes.

Governor Barbour seems to be out of touch with the current health care crisis.  Nineteen percent of Mississippians are without any health insurance.  Another nineteen percent are on medicaid.  This accounts for more than 1,000,000 people in Mississippi.  Mississippians average income is $27,028 in 2006, the lowest in the country.   My health care insurance costs $5,000.  Fortunately for me, my employer pays my insurance premiums but this figure represents eighteen percent of the average income in the state.  People who can afford health insurance either by paying for it themselves or through employment plans are still socked with incredible large bills after the insurance has paid their percentage.  Meanwhile, cigarette smoke and second hand smoke are known to cause cancer, increase risks of heart disease, and a host of other ailments that people cannot afford to get adequately treated.  Barbour is denying the reality of the health care crisis and encouraging its continuation by refusing to increase the sin tax on cigarettes. 

Where are the hospitals going to turn to help them pay their $155 a day tax?  To the patients receiving care.  For a family that is struggling already to make ends meet and making decisions between purchasing gasoline and food, facing an increased cost in a hospital stay is an unethical move for the Governor to make.  

Unethical because it places the burden of medicaid squarely on the people who cannot afford an increase in their medical costs. Unethical because it is biased in exempting government run and university hospitals, allowing them to charge less for services than other hospitals.  Unethical because 20% of the Hospitals who do not serve a higher ratio of medicaid patients will lose funds. 

Barbour contends that for every hospital that pays $1 will receive $6 back in Medicaid payments.  This is not an ethical proposal.  The proposal amounts to bribery and the citizens of Mississippi once again suffers by such tactics.   Governor Barbour, Mississippi deserves a better solution.  Increased taxation on cigarettes is a better solution since many of its consumers will end up needing medical care as a result.  

Published in: on May 31, 2008 at 6:03 pm  Comments Off on Governor Barbour’s Hospital Tax Unethical  
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