ICYMI, below is a quick look of some of today’s press concerning Sen. Morse’s comments on the MET from yesterday’s Ways and Means Committee meeting:
“Speaking Tuesday at a Senate Ways and Means Committee meeting, [Senate President Chuck Morse] said lawmakers need a long-term solution that phases out the Medicaid Enhancement Tax assessed on hospitals' patient services. ‘Avoiding major disruptions to the state budget is in the state's best interests and in the hospitals' best interest,’ Morse said. ‘I also believe that responding to the recent court decisions will require changing the MET in the short-term and phasing it out in the long-term.’
- “NH Senate president: Short-term fix needed after Medicaid Enhancement Tax ruling” Union Leader, Garry Rayno
“Morse said lawmakers need to prepare for the elimination of the 5.5 percent, Medicaid Enhancement Tax that’s been in place since 1991. … But wiping it out overnight would ‘create tremendous uncertainty and turmoil,’ Morse told the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday. ‘Cutting state spending by $400 million at this point in the budget cycle would not be easy and I don’t hear anybody suggesting a $400 million tax,’ Morse said.
- “After two court rulings, state medical tax faces uncertain future including elimination or expansion” Nashua Telegraph, Kevin Landrigan
“The recently passed Medicaid expansion plan is expected to decrease uncompensated care payments, which should help soften the blow of reducing the tax rate, Morse said. Lawmakers should also look at putting MET revenue into a dedicated fund so it is used only for the intended purposes, he said.”
- “Lawmakers continue work on reforming use of Medicaid Enhancement Tax” Concord Monitor, Kathleen Ronayne
Additionally, Charlie Arlinghaus dedicated his weekly column this morning to highlighting the fiscal issues facing the state and the steps outlined by Sen. Morse for how New Hampshire should move forward:
“The $400 million hole in the state's budget that I described two weeks ago has caused the state to be placed on a negative fiscal watch. Some would ignore or minimize the crisis, but the problem is large, structural and will require more than a small tweak to fix. …
“Senate President Chuck Morse, who long served as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, decided to focus on substance. He described the Standard and Poor's report as a "clear road map." He's right. The S&P description of what's wrong reads like a primer on the state's fiscal problems. They are describing New Hampshire as negative based not simply on the MET problem, but on the state's pathetic reserves and our having one of the worst-funded pensions in America.
“Sen. Morse responded to each factor. His statement on the problem provides a clear outline of a three-part approach. First, take the remaining $15 million of surplus we haven't already spent and put it away in the rainy day fund. Pre-crisis, the governor and House were reluctant to do so. One imagines they will now see the light.
“Second, Morse doesn't want to undermine the modest pension reforms written by Sen. Jeb Bradley and passed in 2011. …
“Third, Morse correctly points out that there is no short-term or easy fix. Grant Bosse's "Meet the MET" warned about this mess in 2013 when people were pretending a crisis wasn't looming on the horizon. Morse describes the task correctly as needing to find "long term solution to how we fund our state's health care safety net."
- “NH's fiscal crisis cannot be ignored” Charlie Arlinghaus, Union Leader