Here in the United States, we pay a lot in taxes to support programs like Medicare and Medicaid to make sure our elderly and needy are able to get health care. We even have lots of welfare programs assisting those in need. Our state and federal taxes fund all of these programs and I’m happy we’re able to provide these services.
I'm a Republican, so I don’t want us to have socialized medicine or think we should provide subsidies derived from taxation to fund hospitals. Thankfully, most of our hospitals in the United States don’t receive tax subsidies.
Surprisingly, here in Cedar County, we actually have a county-owned hospital being funded with a county tax levy and they are asking once again we give them a 300% increase on top of the tax levy they’re already getting. This tax is paid on all of our property taxes — both personal property taxes and real estate taxes — and as the values of our property goes up so do our taxes. Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar, Mercy in Springfield and Cox in Springfield aren’t funded with taxes because most hospitals aren’t. I’m shocked the county hospital in El Dorado Springs is.
They already put this on the ballot twice before and both times we voted “no” to their 300% increase. But they don’t want to take no for an answer, so the hospital board keeps voting to put it back on the ballot. Now for the third time.
I feel there’s a reason county hospitals have such bad reputations; counties aren’t qualified to run hospitals. Successful hospitals are run by people who are far more qualified. I think it’s awesome we have a hospital in El Dorado Springs for those who chose to use it but most of Cedar County doesn’t use it. Since it’s within a few miles of St. Clair and Vernon counties, they use the hospital, but they don’t pay taxes. Unfortunately, for many in Cedar County it’s too far away, but they’re the ones who are paying for it.
Even if it passed, they estimate the 300% increase would generate approximately $795,000 in additional tax revenue. But their losses were $1,450,000 in 2019 and $1,153,000 in 2018 which leaves them woefully short of covering their shortfalls. They had $1,673,251 in unreimbursed medical care they provided for 2019, the new tax revenue wouldn’t even cover half of that.
I think the hospital/county needs to be more fiscally responsible with the money they already receive or consider selling it to someone who can manage it properly without the support of county taxes. Can you imagine what Cedar County could do with the profits if it were sold?
At one time, CMH in Bolivar was supported with county taxes, but they haven’t been for a long time. They seem to be thriving, and they offer significantly more services.
Your “no” vote really does matter — this was only defeated by 37 votes in the last election.