Sen. Hwang: Time to Care About Our Hospitals

May 18, 2016

State Senator Tony Hwang appears on Meet the Leaders hosted by David Smith. CT State Capitol May 4, 2016.

Time to Care About Our Hospitals

By State Senator Tony Hwang, 28th Senate District

“We’re being taxed into oblivion.”

With those words, Connecticut Hospital Association Senior Vice President Stephen Frayne this January summed up the plight of hospitals across our state.

But the powers-that-be at the State Capitol aren’t listening.

The tone deaf budget plan agreed upon by the governor and the Democrat majorities in the Connecticut House and Senate makes $43.4 million in cuts to the state’s hospitals. That translates into $130 million in overall cuts when federal funds are included.

What does this mean for Connecticut residents?

Hospitals never close their doors – but today, their futures are being threatened. That threat comes from the State’s increasingly erratic behavior related to Medicaid payment cuts and taxation.

Stability at the Capitol brings confidence. Confidence helps grow Connecticut jobs. We don’t have that stability in Hartford. We have unpredictability and uncertainty.

In the case of hospitals, those factors are impacting vital health services and access to care for our neediest residents. Some hospitals are reporting that they are now getting paid less than 30 cents on the dollar of costs to care for Connecticut’s most vulnerable and at-risk patients.

Our Republican alternative budget plan offered a different path. We restored funding for hospitals. We did so in a detailed, transparent fashion. Read our plan at . We listened, we offered sustainable solutions that have received widespread praise, but we are outnumbered under the Gold Dome.

Finally, consider this.

The state’s not-for-profit hospitals cannot simply pack up and move to a more business-friendly state as many for-profit companies have contemplated or done. They are, by their nature, dedicated to serving our local communities by providing lifesaving treatments and interventions.

But, every dollar that a hospital is taxed represents funding that is diverted from direct patient care. Every dollar that is further cut from insufficient Medicaid payments to hospitals is funding that does not go towards advancing innovative treatments. Every dollar that is precipitously taken away through draconian rescissions represents funding that does not go towards finding cures for insidious diseases that impact patients in every one of our communities.

I will continue to work with like-minded legislators from both parties to stop the irreparable damage that is being done to our hospitals. They serve our communities and they are an important economic driver that provides jobs and investment. Ultimately, they serve to provide health care and save lives. We need to make sure we are there to support them as they have been here to support us.

*Sen. Hwang represents Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston, and Westport.