Friday, March 14, 2014

Republicans Making Case for Expanding Hospital Protections

These are interesting times for Mississippi Republicans who for years have protested increased funding to hospitals across the state to ensure that they stay open. It seems Republicans are now waking up to the fact that inadequate funding is unsustainable. Let's take a look at the Republican legislators below. 

House Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden (R-Meridian) is part of the leadership core that dug in its heels to keep increased hospital funding off the table. According to his statement, Snowden is suddenly concerned about how they are supposed to pay for Medicaid; I do not buy his feigned outrage. The House of Representatives grants tax credits and deductions for businesses all the time. At no time have I heard Snowden ask how much these tax credits will cost the General Fund. I recall a 2012 Ways and Means Committee meeting Chairman Jeff Smith (R-Columbus) was considering tax holidays for school supplies, among other bills. Rep. Jessica Upshaw (R-Diamondhead) asked the question that I could tell some in the room were reluctant to ask, "How are we going to pay for all these tax cuts?" Yet, in the bubble where Republicans live, tax cuts pay for themselves so such questions need not be asked.

The same criticism stands for Sen. Michael Watson (R-Pascagoula). Watson is part of the Senate Conservative Coalition, the faction of Republican legislators who rejoiced yesterday that gubernatorial dropout Sarah Palin endorsed Sen. Chris McDaniel in the United States Senate primary. That alone should disqualify him from being taken seriously. 

Both Snowden and Watson are crying crocodile tears that Medicaid funding is falling short in the state. The hypocrisy is incalculable! If they are so worried, they have had three legislative sessions to address the problem. Our hospitals are bleeding red ink while the Republican leadership shrugs its shoulders. Suddenly, the Republicans seem to take notice. Now, I suspect Snowden will go on talk radio again and call me "full of it" and that's fine; I can handle it. The hospitals in our state, on the other hand, cannot take much more of the political grandstanding from the state's Republican leadership who has taken our ship of state way off course.

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