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OP-ED | Legislators: Fix the Budget for Hospitals During the Special Session

by | Jun 12, 2015 1:21pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Health Care, Jobs, Opinion, Public Health, State Budget, Special Session, Taxes

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.

DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com. 

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(13) Archived Comments

posted by: LE 2015 | June 13, 2015  8:44am

The state economy is growing at less than 1%. We give state employees raises from 3 to 10%. The money has to come from someone. Looney and company have decided to punish hospitals. They have no clue what they are doing.

posted by: oldtimer | June 13, 2015  1:48pm

Most state hospitals have no money. They are using equipment that is 10 years old or older, running with skeleton staffs, and barely providing quality care in a timely fashion. Yet Malloy sees them as a cash cow. Twice, he’s lowered Medicaid reimbursements and did so retroactively. Hospitals lose some 50 cents on the dollar with patients who have the state paying the bill. Worse yet, Malloy has twice killed deals for Waterbury Hospital and others who would have been saved by for profit companies. His hatred of Capitalism overrides the healthcare of his constituents.

posted by: Noteworthy | June 14, 2015  5:49am

This is a tax on the sickest people in the state. Where does Looney and Malloy think the hospitals will get the money to the pay the tax? They will raise rates to the patient, create new revenue streams like the hated “facility fee” which is not paid for by your insurance, and will have to paid from your family budget. This entire budget is a disgrace and the result of Democrats sitting behind closed doors and talking to themselves. It makes a mockery out of intelligent budgeting.

posted by: oldtimer | June 15, 2015  6:57pm

BTW… Looney is on record saying <sic> “There are too many hospitals in Connecticut”. So if this additional tax burden should bankrupt a few, I guess its all for the greater good.

posted by: johnnyb | June 15, 2015  9:46pm

All hail SEBAC. Hospitals have to reduce or layoff staff but the State will not have to consider the same for all the fluff useless jobs that exist in the permanent commissions, the Dept. of Aging, the use of overtime in retirement pension calculations, and on and on. The Hospitals should stop treating the welfare population that they get reimbursed at 50% for. The Democrats are doing a good job of ruining the State.

posted by: art vandelay | June 16, 2015  12:27am

art vandelay

Malloy, Looney and the progressive left’s ultimate goal is to squeeze private hospitals out of existence.  Once the goal is accomplished the state will incorporate the hospitals into the UConn Healthcare Network.  Creating new state sponsored hospitals will serve three purposes.  The first being a model example for the federal government to encompass all hospitals under Obamacare into a single payer system. 

Second it will be a feather in Malloy’s hat so he can seek higher political office.

Finally, every employee working in these hospitals will be incorporated into SEPAC thus increasing their membership including mandatory union dues.

posted by: Biff Winnetka | June 16, 2015  6:06am

The really evil part of this story is that the legislature, with the Governor’s blessing, had this hospital tax increase and reimbursement reduction all planned BEFORE the negotiations with Tenet collapsed over the 5 hospital bid.

The Tenet board is probably all high-fiving each other right now realizing that they avoided a huge bait and switch deal in CT.

CT is radioactive as far as Boards of Directors of major corporations are concerned.

There is no way we will “Grow” our way out of this 40 year hole the Progressives have dug the state into.

posted by: JusticeCT | June 16, 2015  7:47am

A few hospital systems are vastly wealthy and getting richer by the minute.  Independent hospitals are either making it or barely making it.  We should tax the hospitals that act like giant for-profit venture capitalists and spare those acting like genuine non-profits.  That would help level the playing field and make cost control and quality improvement higher priorities for the largest medical institutions.

posted by: art vandelay | June 16, 2015  1:08pm

art vandelay

In essence what you’re saying is let’s punish success and discourage private businesses from working toward it.

posted by: Biff Winnetka | June 16, 2015  2:47pm

Art’s comment at 1:27 AM is spot on!

posted by: oldtimer | June 16, 2015  8:06pm

It’s amazing how some view punishment as “fairness”.

posted by: oldtimer | June 18, 2015  5:55pm

Tonight’s 6:00PM news on WFSB highlighted how many state hospitals cannot absorb this tax. There will be layoffs and drastic cutbacks which will hurt the quality of healthcare in this state. So, while the state burns, Malloy is in France on the taxpayer’s dime. This budget and the way the democrats are running/ruining this state is criminal!

posted by: travelling medicine dog | June 19, 2015  6:47am

The creation of 24,000 uninsured is a mess and the healthcare industry is left holding the bag. But, the hospitals need to address their pension problem and their salaries before they can claim to be honest about their efforts to reform and control costs.

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