Dec. 11, 2012
Caption:Councilman Daniel Valenzuela
“This is an important day for all residents of Phoenix. Today, the Phoenix City Council approved the Access to Care ordinance, which allows our city to receive its fair share of federal dollars set aside for healthcare. I am passionate about this ordinance because I am passionate about the well being of all residents of Phoenix. To have healthy residents you must first have financially healthy hospitals. Our hospitals are buckling from hundreds of millions of dollars of debt associated with providing care to the uninsured – a moral and legal obligation.
“This ordinance will help stabilize the hospitals that we all rely on, regardless of our economic or insurance status. Even those blessed with good health insurance benefit from our hospitals, which contribute nearly $28 billion each year to our economy and account for three percent of jobs. Healthcare is one of the few growth industries helping us rebound from the Great Recession. Accessing these federal funds will ensure that new jobs continue to be created, instead of cut, and billions continue to flow through our neighborhoods.
“Phoenix acute care hospitals asked for this measure allowing the city to impose a per-bed assessment on hospitals. The federal government will match the assessment at 2-1. Hospitals will then be reimbursed to cover a little more than half of the debt from uninsured patients.
“I would like to thank our friends at the state for giving us the opportunity to implement this creative solution and I commend Mayor Stanton for picking up the ball and running with it.
“This is another step in the process as the federal government, the Municipal Tax Code Commission and Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) must now approve the proposal. I believe it is in the best interest of all residents of Phoenix.”