Connect & Follow Us

Go Back

Fair Care Coalition Letter to the Editor on Charity Care and Fare Share from April 3, 2012 Chicago Tribune

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
April 4, 2012

View the letter at Chicago Tribune online

This is in response to "Many hospitals facing stress test; Specter of losing property tax exemptions, massive state cut in Medicaid funding has some talking cutbacks, others of closing" (Page 1, March 27). The hospital officials quoted in your story on Medicaid cuts and hospital tax exemptions neglected to point out an important distinction between the two.

Medicaid cuts are part of a crisis that hospitals did not create. Tax-exemption revocations are a self-inflicted wound from years of behavior by some hospitals that have strayed from their mission.

While those hospitals have triggered the current debate, many safety-net hospitals do more than their fair share to provide charity care to patients in need and should be supported with a fair legislative solution.

At the same time that hospitals like Northwestern pay their CEOs huge salaries and claim they cannot help more poor people, hospitals like Norwegian American and Children's Memorial already see the most vulnerable populations and any reduction in revenue could reduce services or close the hospitals.

The Fair Care Coalition is concerned about adequate Medicaid rates, but the state is not "doubling down" on hospitals by seeking a real standard for property-tax exemption.

Rather, the governor, the Fair Care Coalition and others are looking for a solution that increases access to care for patients in need and fairly distributes the burden of free and discounted care.

Legislation should be passed this session that ensures no less.

Diane Limas, board president, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, and Curtis Smith, board member, Lakeview Action Coalition, the Fair Care Coalition, Chicago