Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



Hospitals unhappy with proposed 'hospital tax'
COUNTY BOARD | Moreno wants them to pay for failing to meet free care goals

Saturday, November 14, 2009
Chicago Sun-Times
by Lisa Donovan

With Cook County commissioners expected to roll back the sales tax a half penny on the dollar -- and make it stick this time -- a simmering discussion may very well boil over about a proposed hospital tax, as one group calls it, to continue delivering health care to the poor and uninsured.

The debate pits Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno, a Democrat whose district largely encompasses the Southwest Side, against hospitals in Chicago and the suburbs.

Under the legislation Moreno sponsored, larger nonprofit health-care facilities would be subject to what he calls a "fee," but sounds more like a penalty, if they do not provide free care to the poor or uninsured equal to 4.5 percent of the hospital's annual expenses.

Moreno is concerned that revenue losses from a potential sales tax rollback would hurt Cook County government, a $3.1 billion operation with roughly $850 million going to the county's health-care system this year.

"This is to discourage hospitals from referring patients who have no ability to pay to the public health system," driving up the county's medical tab, Moreno said. He estimated that half of the 1 million people who go through the county's health-care system each year aren't insured and don't qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.

Moreno says his proposed ordinance is particularly important now as unemployment climbs and, along with it, the number of uninsured.

Kevin Scanlan, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, a trade and lobbying group, fired back: "It appears the commissioner wants to replace one tax with another tax, and that's on hospitals."

His trade and lobbying group, which represents 94 hospitals in an eight-county region, says Cook County can't legally impose an occupational tax.

"This could be the straw on the camel's back that could cause them to close," Scanlan said, noting that at least one Chicago neighborhood hospital could be shuttered because of the requirement.

On the backs of struggling hospitals, the "tax" would generate $340 million annually, according to the hospital group.

"That's all baloney,'' says Moreno. He stresses that if the hospital's charity care matches that 4.5 percent, they won't have to write a check to the county at all.

"We have legal opinions, and they say we can do it."

Moreno also explains the threshold would be lower -- 2.3 percent -- for so-called "safety net hospitals," smaller community hospitals such as St. Bernard and St. Anthony, operating in Chicago's inner city, that are already helping fill in the health-care gap by providing care to the indigent.

"Most if not all safety net hospitals meet or exceed the 2.3 percent requirement," he said.

"It's incumbent on the larger hospitals ... to help us to alleviate the stress."

The measure is in the County Board's Finance Committee. Moreno said a public hearing will be held before it comes up for a vote -- as early as January, a month before the Feb. 2 primary election.



Recent Headlines

Inside the $1B restoration of the old Cook County Hospital, ‘a city unto itself’
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

$1M settlement to family of man denied medical attention while in police lock-up
Monday, January 21, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

After beating in Evanston, Northwestern alum seeks to promote better policing
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Injustice Watch

Cook County offers two tax exemptions for seniors
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Homewood Flossmore Chronicle

Will political infighting delay your Cook County property tax assessment appeals?
Friday, January 18, 2019
Daily Herald

Cook County offers $8.5 million in transportation grants
Friday, January 18, 2019
Chicago Tribune

It's time to talk about the way we choose judges
Friday, January 18, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Pritzker signs ‘long overdue’ gun dealer licensing bill, vows ‘more work to do’
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Health Opens New Health Center in Arlington Heights
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Daily Herald

A look at other criminal cases where Cook County judges cleared Chicago cops
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

3 Chicago cops found not guilty in Laquan McDonald cover-up conspiracy case
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Old Cook County Hospital on track to become next city landmark
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Glenview Tentatively OKs Opting Back Into County Minimum Wage, Sick Time Laws
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Journal and Topics Online

Free Radioactive Radon Test Kits From Cook County
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Toni Preckwinkle and county watchdog at odds over political travel reimbursements
Friday, January 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

2 Cook County judges — one cleared of gun charge, one reassigned for anger management — to return to bench at criminal court
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

It's been a bad decade for property taxes
Wednesday, January 09, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Bond court reform has not put more violent offenders back on the street
Wednesday, January 09, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Glenview pushes minimum wage, paid sick leave discussion to next week
Tuesday, January 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

How Fritz Kaegi Plans to Transform the Cook County Assessor’s Office
Friday, January 04, 2019
WTTW Chicago Tonight

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP