Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



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

Prisoner escapes from Chicago police custody en route to Cook County Jail
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

County clerk’s office needs federal oversight
Monday, September 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

City Club of Chicago: Toni Preckwinkle – Advancing Racial Equity in Cook County
Monday, September 16, 2019
WGN Radio

Choosing Cook County judges, Justice Ginsburg reminds us, should not be a popularity contest
Monday, September 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx interested, wary of working with Trump White House on criminal justice reform
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Is Clerk Karen Yarbrough ‘best official’ in county — or is patronage hiring flap only ‘tip of the iceberg’?
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A secret vote will choose Cook County’s next judicial chief. A $270 million budget, thousands of employees, and the future of a huge court system are at stake.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Evans Faces Challenge Thursday For Position As Cook County Chief Judge
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Cook County Health's John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital Receives $5M Federal Grant to Support Cancer Research
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Daily Herald

Cook County Forest Preserves Might Pitch Property Tax Hike To Voters
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Column: Ethically, Todd Ricketts owes Cook County six more years of property taxes on his Wilmette house. He should pay up.
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Watchdog accuses County Clerk Karen Yarbrough of running ‘illegal patronage’ operation, wants court oversight
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Prosecutors Decline To File Charges In About 1 In Every 5 Murder Cases
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Maps Story of Opioid Epidemic with New Website
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ News

Slow refund checks for Water Tower residents—including the county treasurer—lead to proposed fee
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Criminal history vs. compassion? County debate over role of rap sheets in rental decisions
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County’s new law barring landlords from turning away tenants with certain criminal backgrounds faces controversy
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Upholding Cook County’s assault weapons ban
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Hospital rehab awarded $3 million in state tax credits
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Curbed Chicago

Cook County Finance Committee to approve $3 million settlement in medical malpractice case
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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