Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign a bill Tuesday that will help boost funding to the state’s rural hospitals.
The bill, SB 258, allows corporations and people to claim state tax credits for donating to rural health care nonprofits that treat the uninsured or those with Medicare or Medicaid. Bill sponsor Rep. Geoff Duncan, R-Cumming, says the signing is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the governor’s office Tuesday.
Once signed into law, it would make up to $50 million in state tax credits available in 2017, $60 million in 2018 and $70 million in 2019. The original version capped the maximum amount at $100 million annually.
Proponents say the plan will provide a vital financial lifeline for dozens of Georgia’s struggling rural hospitals, which are located in a county with a population of less than 35,000 people.
During the legislative session, Democrats criticized the proposal. They argued the state dollars would be better spent on expanding Medicaid ─ the federal health care program for the poor and disabled ─ under the Affordable Care Act.