Truman Medical Center and Kansas City's other safety net health care providers are urging the Kansas City Council to ask voters next April to renew a key portion of the city's health care property tax.
Truman Med CEO John Bluford told the City Council on Thursday that even if the new Affordable Care Act results in the insuring of more people, safety net providers like his will still need additional resources. For one thing, it will take time for Obamacare to be fully implemented. And even then, places like Truman Med and the Free Health Clinic provide much more care than is funded.
The city actually has a 72-cent health care property tax. Of that, 50-cents has no sunset, but 22-cents was approved in 2005, for nine years. Bluford said that means the city's 22-cent health care levy, which expires in 2014, needs to be renewed for another nine years. And to assist with planning, Bluford and others want voters to approve that renewal in 2013.
Bluford said that over the past nine years, the money has been spent as promised. At Truman, he said the money has helped build a new diabetic treatment center and other specialty centers, and is helping in the planning for a new cancer center.
The 22-cent levy generates about $15 million annually. Of that, about $10.2 million goes to Truman Medical Centers. Other providers like Samuel Rodgers and the Free Health Clinic get about $2.4 million, and the city's ambulance service gets $2.4 million.
The council is expected to take up the proposed April 2 ballot measure in early January. The ordinance calling for the election already has 12 sponsors so is almost certain to pass.