Bristol/Plainville Legislators Slam Governor’s Hospital Tax Increase

September 9, 2017

Proposal would hurt hospital employees, patients

State Representative Whit Betts (R-78), Representative Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77) and Representative William A. Petit, Jr. (R-22) today joined State Senator Henri Martin (R-31) in denouncing Governor Malloy’s proposal to increase the tax on hospitals. They said the brunt of any tax increases would be borne by hospital staff and patients.

While the legislators said eliminating the proposed property tax on hospitals was a positive step, raising the hospital tax does as much damage. Bristol Hospital administrators blame the tax for a $3 million operating loss in 2016.

Sen. Martin said, “The Governor’s proposal is like one step forward and two steps backward. Small nonprofit hospitals like Bristol Hospital are struggling to stay afloat. But instead of throwing them a life preserver, Governor Malloy hands them an anchor.”

In a press conference, the Governor hospitals would benefit from the increase because the state would use the tax money to increase the Medicare rate it pays hospitals. This would result in higher federal Medicaid reimbursements to the state.

Sen. Martin said this is how the Governor first pitched the tax in 2011. However, since then, the hospitals have received less and less money.

Rep. Betts asked why the hospitals and legislators should trust the proposal this time.

“Our hospitals played this game of three-card Monte with Governor Malloy before. Just like any other gambling operation, the house always wins. The money never seems to get where it was promised to go,” Rep. Betts said. “It’s also a gamble for the Governor to think Medicaid payments will increase when the federal government is talking about cutting the program.”

Rep. Pavalock-D’Amato said that, while the Governor thinks he is squeezing money from hospitals, the hospital employees, the patients, and the communities are the ones that suffer.

“It’s the law of unintended consequences and we have seen it happen before,” Rep. Pavalock-D’Amato said. “In a community like Bristol, where our hospital is already operating at a loss, where does the Governor think administrators will get the money for more taxes? The hospital is Bristol’s second largest employer. These people need their jobs.”

Rep. Petit said many patients with private insurance already are struggling to keep up with rising premiums. An increase in the hospital tax will most likely cause an increase in patient costs.

“The Connecticut Hospital Association says the tax is costing patients $650 more each. How much more will this tax increase cost them?” Rep. Petit asked. “What does the Governor expect to happen to these patients when they can no longer afford the care they need?”

The legislators said tax increases like the hospital tax are hurting Connecticut’s economy.

Sen. Martin represents the communities of Bristol, Harwinton, Plainville, Plymouth, and Thomaston.

Rep. Betts serves the communities of Bristol, Plymouth, and Terryville.

Rep. Pavalock-D’Amato serves Bristol.

Rep. Petit serves the communities of Plainville and New Britain.