March 17, 2017
The purpose of this letter is to ask for the community’s help in contacting State Sen. Randy Baumgardner and State Rep. Bob Rankin. I would like their support in finding an alternative solution to Governor Hickenlooper’s proposed reduction in something called the hospital “provider fee.” If this reduction is enacted, it will be catastrophic for many rural hospitals across Colorado, including The Memorial Hospital.
The “provider fee” is an amount that is currently collected from all Colorado hospitals (not taxpayers). This fee is used by the state of Colorado to “match” federal dollars to help cover what it costs hospitals to deliver services to Medicaid patients. The money collected from hospitals and the matching federal dollars are redistributed back to Colorado hospitals based on the number of Medicaid patients for whom each hospital is providing care. Rural hospitals are the primary beneficiaries of this redistributed money.
If the “provider fee” is reduced, the proposed reduction will reduce available funds for Colorado hospitals by the amount of $390 million dollars. As it stands today, Colorado Medicaid now only covers 75 percent of what it costs to deliver care. A reduction in the provider fee will only worsen the picture, shifting more cost to privately-insured individuals and businesses.
The reasoning for the proposed reduction in the “provider fee” is that the fund is subject to the 1992 taxpayer’s bill of rights (TABOR). The proposal to reduce this fee is to allow more spending capacity in the general fund for other government spending.
The legal alternative (and solution) is to move the “provider fee” into an enterprise fund that excludes the dollars from TABOR spending limitations. The political left favors moving this fund to an “enterprise fund” without reducing TABOR spending limits in the general fund. The political right favors moving this fund to an “enterprise fund” while reducing the spending limit of TABOR equal to the amount of the current fund.
I encourage you to contact your representatives and ask them to work across the aisle of their respective parties and find a solution that protects rural hospitals and the services we provide.
To contact Baumgardner call 303-866-5292, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or mail a letter to: Randy Baumgardner – State Senator – District #8, Colorado State Capitol, 200 E Colfax, Denver, CO 80203. To contact Rankin, call 303-866-2949, e-mail email@example.com or mail letter to: Bob Rankin – State Representative, District 57, Colorado State Capital, 200 E Colfax Denver, CO 80203.
CEO The Memorial Hospital