The new state budget is not finalized, yet the effect of taxing and underfunding hospitals is already being felt in the starkest terms: people are losing access to care, services, and jobs.
This past week alone saw the announcements of clinic closings and hundreds of layoffs. If legislators do not restore much-needed funding to hospitals in the Special Session during the last week of June, hospitals will have to make additional painful choices.
In the current budget, the state would only pay about half of what it costs to care for Medicaid patients. That’s like having to treat every other patient for free – it simply isn’t enough. And when doors close as a result, the people who are most in need will lose access to care.
Meanwhile, to make up for those losses, costs will go up for everyone else.
Additionally, hospitals are postponing investments in technology and infrastructure, as well as laying off staff. These are people who have chosen to work in a caring organization that keeps its doors open to all, 24 hours a day. Hospital staff should be lauded for their work, not worried about whether they will have a job or whether they will have the resources to do their jobs properly.
A new analysis by Fred Carstensen, Director of the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis and a professor of finance and economics at the University of Connecticut, concluded that the state’s declining financial support to hospitals will translate to more than 4,000 lost jobs, nearly $300 million in lost personal income, and a $145 million decline in state revenue by 2017.
We can’t let this happen.
We ask all who support healthcare in Connecticut to visit CareWeCanCountOn.org to write to their legislators. Ask them to restore Medicaid and other funding, and return the tax money back to hospitals so the funds can be used as they were originally intended – for healthcare.
Jennifer Jackson is CEO of the Connecticut Hospital Association, which represents the interests of the states’ hospitals on key healthcare issues.