Phoenix City Council Passes Phoenix Access to Care Ordinance

Phoenix to tax hospitals to aid uninsured patients

The Phoenix City Council on Tuesday adopted an ordinance to tax local hospitals and pool the money, a move that would generate more than $200 million in federal matching funds for the hospitals to care for uninsured and underinsured patients.

The vote created the Phoenix Access to Care Ordinance, which would impose a short-term tax on 11 local hospitals to generate about $130 million.

Under the ordinance, hospitals cannot pass the tax along to patients. Instead, the money will create a funding source for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, and trigger a 2-1 federal match.
Mayor Greg Stanton praised the ordinance as not only good for the city’s residents but for hospitals across the state, which account for nearly $28billion of economic activity and almost 3 percent of jobs in Arizona.
“This is the right move for this city at this time for jobs and economic development,” Stanton said. “We simply cannot succeed … if our hospitals are not strong. We cannot allow our hospitals to be put at a competitive disadvantage.”
More than 100 doctors, nurses and other representatives of the health-care industry attended Tuesday’s council meeting to support the ordinance, including several hospital leaders. Many praised the plan as a partial — albeit temporary — solution to soaring “uncompensated care” costs in recent years due to unemployment and AHCCCS cuts.
Read more of the article by Amy B Wang at The Republic |
Posted in AZBio News, Health.