Hassan's Massive Hospital Tax - Granite Grok

Hassan’s Massive Hospital Tax

taxesState Senator Maggie Hassan must not believe the odds for Democrats in November are bad enough.  She’s decided to ask them to help her piss off the entire Health Care industry in New Hampshire (and anyone who has to use it) on top of everything else her party has done.  Her weapon of choice is a metaphorical pillow-case full of doorknobs by the name of SB 505.

This pumpkin sized sap would introduce a government board whose job it would be to bludgeon the system with government-defined reasonable costs for all things medical, defining what doctors and hospitals can charge, and tax them for the privilege.  Call it Revenge of the JUA cash snatchers.  If she can’t burgle the privately funded accounts of those evil doctors to hide her profligate spending then maybe she can rob them of the ability to fund them entirely.

It not only creates a massive hospital tax, but it also adds tons of administrative costs to hospitals and an oppressive ministry of cost-conscious ‘experts’ all at the same time.

But this is an impressive legislative leap.  Timing is after all everything.  At the same time, State Senator Hassan is proposing we define compensation for medical treatment with soviet style price rationing, (and an annual tax) her party is floating the idea of dumping their ministry of compensation for L.L.C.’s.  They may even be backing off the LLC tax (that’s not really a tax) altogether–at least for political reasons.   (Makes you wonder what Doctors running L.L.C.’s think about all of this?)

So why would the Mighty Hassan—she who believes that adding 23% to the cost of government during a recession is not irresponsible—not heed the steaming goat entrails that warded the rest of the coven away from compensation commissions?   

Could it be that she was too busy sniffing the ink on her freshly autographed copy of Van Jones’ “Green Collar Economy.”  Or perhaps she was burning up the minutes chatting up her other environmental justice BFF’s at Oxfam International?  Whatever the case, it wouldn’t be the first time the liberals changed the wheels on the bus without getting everyone on board first.  And sometimes they just can’t get the band together to practice.  Maybe Terri had another cold. Or Marjorie was busy admiring the tile in that $70,000 ladies room down the hall from the speaker’s office, (what do they call it, the moon-bat cave?). And everyone else was just too busy racking up mileage compensation and couldn’t stop long enough to send Maggie a text.  (It’s not technically illegal to text with one hand by the way.  You’d think the people who voted for the damn bill would have figured that out by now.)

So it’s got to be terribly embarrassing.

She’s rolled out her new Kremlin-esque mini-ministry of health care in the shadow of a full retreat on ministries.  But it makes excellent blog material.  And who can resist the opportunity to drag out all those old chestnuts about Hassan the spender, Hassan the environmental justice junkie, or Hassan the “how about a socialist board of price controllers to wreck the states Healthcare system as much or more than her health insurance-wrecking role model Jeanne Shaheen?” 

Oh, and if it matters, the board SB 505 creates will have a budget and power to create commissions, fund studies, and be influenced by health industry lobbyists—oops.  And their primary source of funding (so the lie goes) will be a tax–they use the word assessment–on all hospitals to the tune of 1.5 million dollars the first year.  And if that’s not enough, the bill allows the legislature to give them more.  And then, starting in 2012 and 2013, Maggie’s Ministry of Health and Price Controls will be able to “Assess” funds equal to 3.5 million per year from the hospital system to fund its machinations.

That’s one heck of a big Ass-essment you got there.  And that’s without adding all the regulatory and administrative costs heaped on hospitals, doctors, and insurers just to comply with the rules in the bill, let alone those later cranked out by the committee, subcommittee, and so on.

So Comrade Hassan’s brainchild will not only define what the hospitals and doctors can charge. It will not only create a new and expensive bureaucracy with potential committees, and subcommittees, and evaluations, and assessments, (and costly contractors and specialists and consultants—and long, boring, pricey reports almost no one will bother reading). It will also be taxing the states hospital system up to 3.5 million per year for the privilege of bending and scraping to same.  How the hospitals will offset those new taxes and administrative costs in the face of price controls is a curious problem that I can only guess will result in decreased access and poorer service.  But hey, we’ll all be treated just as poorly, so stop your whining.

So while you’re waiting—and you should get used to that by the way—maybe read the bill yourself, and then call up your legislator(s) and let them know how you really feel about a massive new state health board funded by a huge tax on hospitals and medical providers.  After all, the Hospital may have to write the check to the Hassan’s Health Board, but you’ll be the one paying for it.

Cross Posted from NH Insider (This Link is dead)