More Money or More Problems for WI Hospitals?

By: Justin Ware Email
By: Justin Ware Email

"We'll work thorugh the Medicaid system to get more federal revenue," said Governor Jim Doyle, (D) Wisconsin. "An additional $575 million of federal money."

Those at the Wisconsin Hospital Association are not comfortable with governor Jim Doyle's promise to increase Medicaid money to Wisconsin.

To do that, they say the governor will be passing a new tax that will increase the cost of health care for Medicaid patients.

And since Medicaid is a federal program, that would bring more federal money into Badger state hospitals.

"People look at it and say 'well great, this is another funding option to bring more federal money in.'" said John Sauer, Wisconsin nursing home association. "And that's a short term view of the world."

Sauer says he understands why Wisconsin hospitals are worried about the hospital tax, because nursing homes went throught the same thing 15 years ago.

Also known as the 'bedside tax', Sauer says the increase did raise money for nursing homes the first couple years it was in place .. up until Medicaid officials found a way around it.

"The feds woke up and said, 'gosh, there's a run on federal dollars for Medicaid' and so they changed the rules."

Sauer says new Medicaid rules require bedside tax on every patient, even those who pay for their own healthcare.

And Sauer says that can make things difficult for health care providers and patients.

"It may look good out of the box, but over the decade and a half that we've had it, there have been some fairly difficult budget battles."

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