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Speaker: Health-care a session priority

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POSTED: January 11, 2013 2:30 p.m.

ATLANTA — House Speaker David Ralston is turning up the heat as state lawmakers consider whether to extend a high-profile hospital industry tax that generates more than $600 million for state health care spending.

In an interview Thursday, the Blue Ridge Republican did not explicitly endorse the details of a proposal from the hospital industry to tweak but continue the tax on net patient revenue. It expires this year.

However, Ralston endorsed the concept, and says lawmakers should not be swayed by political pressure from groups threatening to campaign against legislators for raising taxes. The General Assembly convenes Monday for its annual session.

The financing scheme uses the hospital money to secure federal support for Medicaid. Ralston says without that arrangement, several hospitals in Georgia would have to close.

 

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