Tennessee Senate OK's extension of assessment on hospitals, goes to the governor

Tennessee Senate OK's extension of assessment on hospitals, goes to the governor

April 3rd, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

The Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville.

Photo by The Tennessean /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - The Senate took final action today on a one-year extension of 4.52 percent "assessment" on hospitals, sending the bill to Gov. Bill Haslam, who is expected to sign the measure.

Senators voted 30-0 on the measure, which passed the House last week.

It will raise $450 million and bring an additional $842 million in federal matching funds for the state's TennCare program.

Lawmakers and hospitals insist the measure, first implemented three years, is not a tax because hospitals sought the legislation to avoid draconian cut to TennCare.

Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, said the bill has kept one of the five community hospitals in his district from closing.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has said he would like to do away with such revenue-raising bills for Medicaid, although he took advantage of them himself in the mid-1990s when he was state finance commissioner.