An unnamed blogger at Colorado Pols writes:
We’re more than a little baffled here. Make no mistake, we certainly knew that Republicans were going to take a run at former Gov. Bill Ritter’s 2009 hospital provider fee, despite the fact that it was supported by the hospitals paying the fee, and directly results in matched federal funding that would be lost if repealed.
I’m a little baffled that Colorado Pols thinks that the hospitals are paying this fee. As economist Linda Gorman noted in her backgrounder on the hospital fee:
The bill proposes a tax on hospital patient revenue, not on total hospital revenue. Patients, not hospitals, will ultimately end up paying this tax in the same way that customers, not corporations, end up paying corporate taxes.
A tax that increases the cost of hospital care will increase the cost of health insurance. It will also increase the cost f Medicare copays. This harms the elderly.
[The Act] stipulates that hospitals may not show the amount of the tax on their billing statements. The exact wording [on page 6] is
(f) A HOSPITAL SHALL NOT INCLUDE ANY AMOUNT OF THE PROVIDER FEE AS A SEPARATE LINE ITEM IN ITS BILLING STATEMENTS.
It’s hard to fathom why the politicians behind this tax stipulate this if the hospitals themselves were paying the fee.
And does hospital tax really bring in matched federal funding – confiscated from taxpayers mostly in other states? Back in 2009, Linda Gorman of the Independence Institute noted:
[T]he [Denver] Post reports that a new hospital fee “would be matched by an equal amount of federal funding.” Simply false. The fiscal note done by the Colorado legislature shows the fee will raise $629,365,211 compared to $508,827,172 in federal funds. Do Brown and Hoover wish to pay to make up that more than $100,000,000 gap?
For a short critique of the hospital provider
fee tax, see Linda Gorman’s “Colorado’s Health Care “Affordability Act” should be repealed.” For an in-depth critique, see the issue backgrounder I mentioned above.