Let free market decide MMH
To the Editor:
I have several concerns over the proposed $35 million new hospital. Although I am not in the healthcare business and have not been privy to the details, I am sure I am not alone in having common sense apprehensions regarding this project that seems to be on a fast-track for approval.
First, at six percent interest, the hospital must generate $2.1 million of revenues above expenses just to pay for interest alone.
It currently requires almost $1 million of the county budget to subsidize its operations, so we may be looking at $3 million of our $12 million in annual taxes – or 25 percent – and that’s if all goes well!
And that’s not even including any principal repayment. Can you imagine paying 25 percent more in property taxes every year?!
Second, if the hospital requires more in its operating budget and comes up short due to indigent patients, reduced Medicare/Medicaid billing formulas or reimbursements (let’s not feign surprise) we could use even more of our tax dollars on what could end up seeming like a bottomless pit.
Third, if the hospital is successful due to profitable operating rooms, it is very likely that private surgery centers could open up and siphon off profitable patients. The current Certificate of Need system used in Georgia may fall by the wayside as it has done in almost all other states and open the door to capitalistic and more efficient medicine. $35 million for 20,000 residents is the equivalent of $5 trillion in U.S. spending for a population of 320 million.
Can you imagine the outcry if the U.S. government – the president or Congress – decided to spend $5 trillion to build hospitals in the U.S.?!
This is excessive, especially considering we have decent access to good nearby hospitals with other options on the way.
Speaking of other options, three years ago Greene County gave up local control of its hospital. It will be getting a new hospital run by a private entity with no county funding. Let’s let the free market work.
If a new hospital is feasible let a private concern provide one without indebting the county. It will probably be run more efficiently and professionally. Who should be for this excessive spending and irresponsible indebtedness?
Anyone set to make a profit or gain a good job from a new hospital or anyone who is not opposed to higher county taxes.
Who should oppose it?
Any property owner whether agricultural, residential or commercial who does not want higher property taxes. Anyone on a fixed or low income and who is barely hanging on or cannot afford higher taxes. Any county worker who might find their job cut or scaled back so that these bonds can be serviced.
Anyone who claims to be fiscally conservative and who has disdain for expanding government and debt. Anyone who loathes a government solution in lieu of capitalistic one (remember – this new hospital will have a cafeteria run by Morrisons’ – it could cut into local restaurant business as well).
Our county commissioners were elected to be good stewards of our county and its tax dollars. Please continue on this course.
Printed in the May 7, 2009 edition.