Lawmakers To Learn More About Connecticut Hospital Tax Deal

AP
December 08, 2019 - 10:32 am

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — State lawmakers will learn more this week about a long-awaited settlement agreement reached between the Connecticut Hospital Association and Gov. Ned Lamont.

Members of several key committees in the General Assembly will participate in a hearing on Friday at the Legislative Office Building on the deal, which calls for the hospitals to withdraw legal claims that potentially exposed the state to as much as $4 billion in liability.

Jennifer Jackson, CEO of the hospital association, called the agreement “a win for patients, hospitals and the state.”

The seven-year agreement still needs legislative approval. Lamont, a Democrat, has said he wants lawmakers to vote in a special session later this month on the deal, as well as on a revised transportation plan with truck-only tolls, legislation that attempts to settle a dispute over how restaurant workers are paid and the state's yet-to-be approved bond package.

The next regular legislative session opens in February.

Lamont called the settlement agreement “a new chapter” in the state's relationship with the hospitals. The two sides have been at odds for years over a tax on the hospitals that was part of a complicated plan to secure more federal Medicaid reimbursement funds for the state and the hospitals. But ultimately, the hospitals ended up paying more in taxes, prompting the legal action.

Republican Sen. Len Fasano of North Haven, the Senate's minority leader, said the settlement will cost taxpayers “at the very least $900 million.” He blamed the hospital association's lawsuit on “irresponsible budgeting” by former Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and legislative Democrats.

Under this new deal, the tax hospitals pay will be stabilized and the state's Medicaid reimbursement rate to hospitals will increase 2% annually.