State redirects indigent-care tax collected in Hillsborough
|By James L. Rosica, Tampa Tribune, Fla.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Overall, teaching hospitals, stand-alone children's hospitals and a regional perinatal hospital in
Those kinds of deep cuts will likely result in reduced staffing, decreased training and the elimination of specialty treatments like burn units, advocates say.
"Those are local dollars," said Murman, a state representative from 1996-2004. "It's an issue of fairness."
Locally-raised money, she said, "shouldn't be used to assist other communities that didn't have the political foresight to provide for the care of their most needy residents."
The eventual shares also will depend on what the state gets for its low income pool, or LIP, which pays for hospitals' charity care. Gov.
The low income pool has been limited at
Tampa General spokesman
"The goal of the formula is to take local public health funds provided by certain communities, and the federal match they earn, and share those benefits with communities that provide no local health funds to
Safety net hospitals usually need all the help they can get.
People without health insurance often forgo treatment until they're quite ill and then visit emergency rooms for care they can't afford.
A legislative fix likely won't happen this session -- mostly because leaders in
Particularly, he added, since big-city hospitals got used to benefiting from the sway of their elected officials.
"I'm aware that the action that
"I think we're far from settling that issue," Gaetz said. "I'm not aware of any formula that settles the matter."
The deal, backed by Gov,
Almost a third of the overall state budget goes to
But, critics say, tiering provides a disincentive to do so because it comes across as a redistribution of wealth, penalizing areas that chose to pass a tax to pay for charity care.
"You can call it foresight, you can call it political will, but it's always a tough decision when you decide whether to tax yourself to pay for something," Carvalho said.
Lawmakers are working now on the state budget for 2014-15, the only bill they are required to pass every year.
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