Author: Ryan

The Affordable Cost of Health Care

The Affordable Cost of Health Care

Higher wages for workers at private hospitals? Voters in Duarte and Inglewood to decide by November.

by Kary C. Crockett

Sarasota, Florida (KCTS9) – It’s no secret among University of South Florida (USF) students and faculty that they spend more than they should on health care. They see it as an almost tangible cost as they struggle to pay off rising tuition. But the issue of higher wages at private hospitals and hospital systems is something that’s only begun to gain traction since the 2012 passage of a law that allows patients to pay for their care with a state-mandated health savings account.

The United Health Care Hospital Association, the largest hospital lobby in the country, has pledged to lobby state and federal lawmakers to extend these new powers to private hospitals. They say that not only are private employers losing millions of dollars in revenue from unpaid wages, but that public employee unions are losing more of those funds as patients opt for less expensive private health care.

In the 2016 election cycle, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will introduce a proposal on behalf of Duarte, a northern Broward County city that has been without a hospital since it decided to build a multi-million dollar facility in 2000. “We have so many people who need services that will be provided for free or at a low cost if they don’t have to go to a county hospital,” says Democrat Duarte Mayor Mark Stevens.

“I’ve seen this as a personal issue, as well as a policy issue for our hospital system,” says Democrat Broward County Commission Vice Chair Leslie Adams.

As for Inglewood, it’s the county’s largest city and home to a public health system that serves more than 7,000 people, and a smaller private hospital that offers private rooms, diagnostic testing and other services. A local nonprofit group, Citizens for Public Healthcare, has launched a campaign to persuade voters to approve a referendum on the issue.

A study by UC Health, the largest health care system in the state, finds that health care services provided by USF hospitals are consistently ranked in the top 10 in the Southeast for affordability and quality.

“We are very proud of those rankings and we feel that they will continue to move forward,” says USF President Renu Khator.

The results of the study are similar to other studies conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. These studies find that

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