Oklahoma state representative Doug Cox (R-Grove) has introduced HB 1031, legislation that aims to permanently extend the 2% tax levied upon hospital revenues in the state. During the 2011 legislative session, Rep. Cox promised the state legislature that the “provider fee” would be a temporary tax; however, much like unicorns, temporary tax increases simply do not exist.
As noted during the passage of the original bill, the tax increase applies to 77 hospitals and exempt 69 others, including specialty hospitals and state-owned hospitals such as the OU Medical Center. The legislation remains a gimmick aimed to game the Medicaid system for more federal dollars for the state. With the enactment of “Obamacare”, the federal Medicaid system will continue to be strained and will increasingly become unsustainable. With several states looking to enact a similar scheme as Oklahoma has, there is no guarantee that Medicaid dollars will be around in years to come as the system becomes increasingly burdened. Rather than footing rural hospitals and taxpayers across the state with the tab, Oklahoma should push to block grant Medicaid funding provided to their state from the federal government.
Americans for Tax Reform encourages members of the Oklahoma legislature to vote NO on HB 1031. The facts remain unchanged, HB 1031 is a tax increase that seeks to game an unsustainable Medicaid system.
To contact your Oklahoma state legislator, click here.