OP-ED | Legislators: Fix the Budget for Hospitals During the Special Session
The new state budget, which expands taxes on hospitals and reduces reimbursement rates, is devastating and unsustainable for hospitals, patients, and our communities.
The situation is dire. The financial burdens imposed by this budget will reduce the ability of hospitals to invest in patient care. It will hurt patients’ access to healthcare services. The ripple effect will be felt throughout the state. Everyone will be impacted.
But it is not too late — we need legislators’ help to fix the budget during the upcoming Special Session.
The current budget expands the hospital tax from $269 million to $315 million per year, and cuts Medicaid rates and other funding by $58 million each year. To keep up with the new financial burdens, hospitals will have to make terrible choices that include reducing healthcare services and programs, and cutting staff. If healthcare is not available in their communities, and if it is too expensive or too far to travel, people may put off getting needed care until their health issues become a bigger — and more costly — problem.
The effect of eliminating staff will be felt throughout our communities. Not only are hospital jobs critically important, but they also generate jobs outside the hospital. In fact, every job in a Connecticut hospital generates another job outside the hospital. Connecticut hospitals generate 110,000 jobs.
We cannot keep pulling money out of hospitals to help balance the state budget. The mission of hospitals is to care for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. But cutting reimbursement rates and taxing our hospitals makes it harder for them to achieve their missions, hurts patients’ ability to get the care they need, and is a punch in the gut for our state’s economy. These new cuts and taxes will cause immediate and lasting damage to Connecticut’s healthcare safety net.
We need legislators to take action during the Special Session to fix the budget. For our patients. For our hospitals. For our communities. For our futures.
We urge state residents to visit www.CareWeCanCountOn.org and ask legislators to fix the budget for hospitals and their patients in the upcoming Special Session.
Jennifer Jackson is CEO of the Connecticut Hospital Association, which represents the interests of the state’s hospitals on key healthcare issues. More than 140 hospital and health-related organizations are members of CHA.
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