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Local lawmaker critical of state budget over hits to hospitals

Corporations aren't the only ones critical of the newly adopted state budget.  Hospitals say they are taking a heavy hit.

 

Danbury state Senator Mike McLachlan called the underlying budget a disaster for hospitals.  He says not just the hospital tax, but the reimbursements.  He says non-profit hospitals are spending a lot of money in the community in unreimbursed care and on educational programs, and nobody is paying for the service.  McLachlan says they have to take that out of whatever limited profits the Hospitals generate.  He says that means jobs, and cutting back on the community activities that happen in Western Connecticut.

 

McLachlan says the reduced reimbursements from the federal government for government funded health care, the strains of inflation that has occurred in the cost of medicine and technology related to health care seemed to have created a perfect storm.

 

McLachlan compared the hospital tax to dynamite.  He says Connecticut threw that into this perfect storm.

 

The new budget also imposes a new provider tax on ambulatory service centers, collecting $35 million from them over the next two years.

 

Already paying $350 million per year through a provider tax based upon their earnings, that levy will be adjusted to reflect more recent industry revenues.  Hospitals used to recieve the money back from the state. 

 

McLachlan says the original tax idea was creative, because it took advantage of a federal program, but the intercept idea was grabbing a good chunk of the money.  McLachlan asked how much state government intercepted of the hospital tax that was intended to be for the hospitals.  He was told it's about $85 million.

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Jill Schlesinger

Local Headlines