Weak Deal for Hospitals in Compromise

When the Joint Finance Committee voted to reject federal funds for BadgerCare they also inserted a additional piece to make them feel better about themselves: providing funds to hospitals to deal with the the uncompensated care they face. The uncompensated care they themselves are causing by not covering people in BadgerCare!

This number, $73 million dollars over the biennium or $36.7 million per year, is expected to be some great boon to the hospitals, that is somehow is a replacement to what they've been losing for years or what would have been covered had we taken the federal funds for BadgerCare.   

But looking off of the Wisconsin Hospital Association's reports on uncompensated care, it reveals how small this change is. In 2011 Wisconsin hospitals had over $1.2 billion in uncompensated care costs, the proposed "deal" from the legislature? A mere 3% of that.

Let's look at the impact of the individuals who will have to vote on this issue: In the following senate districts are the totals of uncompensated care by hospitals and medical centers within that district. Will that state senator vote to hurt their own constituents?

  • In Sen Terry Moulton's district = $68 million/year in uncompensated care for providers
  • In Sen Michael Ellis' district = $31.9 million/year in uncompensated care for providers
  • In Sen Luther Olsen's district = $17.6 million/year in uncompensated care for providers
  • In Sen Jerry Petrowski's district = $59 million/year in uncompensated care for providers
  • In Sen Joseph Liebham's district = $26.9 million/year in uncompensated care for providers
  • In Sen Robert Cowles' district '= $25.6 million/year in uncompensated care for providers
  • In Sen Dale Schultz's district = $39.6 million/year in uncompensated care for providers
This not only is an underestimate because of estimates are from 2011, but that this does not even include medical systems that serve constituents in the district but do not reside in them. Example: Oshkosh hospitals serving Winnebago county residents that reside in Senator Ellis' district even if the hospital itself doesn't.
So what does this mean? This plan to give money to hospitals won't even cover the amount needed to cover more than one district's costs, if even that! A better alternative? Accept federal funds for BadgerCare!

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  • commented 2014-11-27 23:36:24 -0600
    The overall government and state medicaid and medicare cuts have hurt hospitals all over the United States. There has been a record number of mergers and hospitals cutting down expenses to the door open. Looks like this will be a bumpy road for hospitals. – http://www.hospitaljobsinc.com/