The True Cost of Government-Run Healthcare
Recently, we considered how the local hospital’s own budget anticipates a financial loss over the next year. Taxpayers should be equally appalled to learn that, like its Hospital, the Hospital District itself may not be as financially solid as voters are being led to believe.
One of the primary talking points coming from supporters of new Hospital construction in Liberty is that all the hopes and dreams of the District can become a reality with “only a modest tax increase.” But is that true? Not according to the District’s budget for the coming year (approved just a few weeks ago by its board members).
On the Income/Revenue portion of the budget, the District anticipates receiving only $2,559,705 (21.47%) of revenue from Property Taxes. Obviously, they can’t fund their budget on that amount of revenue (or even twice that amount of revenue for what it’s worth). So how do they keep the lights on?
Consultants for the District have figured out a way to stay solvent by participating in a Medicaid managed care delivery program called QIPP, a program designed to improve the quality of care in NURSING HOMES (not local government-run hospitals). Voters may have heard about this program in recent days as the Board and their representatives brag about how the federal program enables them to keep property taxes low.
The program, funded mostly with federal tax dollars, hauls in a massive load of money for the District and their Nursing Home partners! According to the newly approved budget, those Federal dollars are expected to amount to $9,330,585 (more than 78%) of the total Income/Revenue for the District.
Supporters are quick to point out that the money isn’t even free though. The federal program requires the State of Texas to come up with a portion of the funds, and the State puts the burden for their portion on the District. Because the District doesn’t have that kind of money laying around, it takes out a loan on behalf of taxpayers to fund the State’s contribution to QIPP. The loans apparently cost taxpayers more than 3 Million in interest fees alone (not to mention whatever strings come attached to that federal money, to get the 9+ million payout).
At the end of the day, participation in the program allows the District to NET a whole $746, which is well enough for a budget. But what happens if that federal program were to be disrupted? What if tomorrow, a new Administration, with the support of Congress gutted the QIPP program and that Federal Money spigot dried up? Well, if we ZERO out the Revenue and Estimated Expenses of the QIPP program, we get shocking results. Without the Federal Money, the Hospital District would find itself in a more than $-6 Million deficit.
How would the Hospital District (and by extension the Hospital it supports) avoid collapse at that point? Why there’s only one way.. by raising property taxes! Then perhaps the District would find itself closer to $.36 per $100 likes the rest of the failing state Hospital Districts the Prop A/B sales squad are constantly bashing.
Admittedly, this is a hypothetical. The Federal Government loves to spend our tax dollars and it’s unknown whether they’ll ever admit they’ve run out of it. But don’t forget, the District is funded almost completely (99%) by tax dollars.. OUR tax dollars, the money taken from OUR paychecks. And make no mistake, the debt we may soon find ourselves saddled with both in the District and at the Federal level is debt that will be passed on to OUR great grandchildren to repay.
So what is the true cost of propping up a doomed-to-fail Government-Run Healthcare system? One thing is for sure, it is much much than $.09
The good news is, it’s not too late to stop the Hospital District from taking its citizens down the path of no return. It’s Ok to Vote No!
Please Note: The images above were adapted for more presentation purposes. The original source document can be accessed by clicking here.