Kansas City voters will again be asked to tax themselves to help cover health care costs for the poor and uninsured.
The City Council agreed unanimously Thursday to seek voter approval in April for a nine-year extension of the city's indigent health care property tax.
Council members said that it will take years for the new federal health care law to be fully implemented and that even then, thousands of city residents will remain uninsured or underinsured. They said the city's indigent health care tax provides crucial funding for Truman Medical Centers, the city's ambulance service and other safety net providers.
"Passing this on April 2 is something we must do," Councilman Michael Brooks told his colleagues.
Voters first approved the tax in 2005, and it is set to expire in 2014. Health care providers said they want the extension approved this year to allow for planning to meet future needs.
The tax, 22 cents per $100 of assessed value, generates about $15 million annually, including $10 million for Truman and the rest for the ambulance service and five indigent care clinics.
The tax adds about $43 to the annual tax bill for the owner of a $100,000 house.