Shouldn’t we be able to use our hospitals that we are paying for without being subjected to things like surprise medical bills?
I thank Bill Schubart for his commentary, “When do we ask the question about hospitals’ tax-exempt status?”
While I am not qualified to answer Schubart’s question, I can say from my experience as a patient who has been on the receiving end of surprise bills from Vermont’s hospitals, it can feel like there is little difference between the for-profit and the nonprofit hospital.
If Vermonters are picking up the taxes for our nonprofit hospitals — along with sustaining them through paying hospital fees and our health insurance premiums — then shouldn’t we be able to use our hospitals that we are paying for without being subjected to things like surprise medical bills?
Schubart’s commentary also poses this question: “In essence, is the mission of maximizing Vermont’s population health the primary driver of decision-making at our major hospital system, or is the goal institutional and market-share growth and the consequent accumulation of retained earnings?”
Our state government has always told us that a publicly financed health care system is too expensive. Yet, to again quote Schubart, we can afford the salaries of “17 executives whose compensation was over $400,000 with an average annual compensation of over $600,000 — 20 times the median income of the ratepayers who will pay those salaries.”
Which is it? Do we the people exist to subsidize this “market-share growth” and these CEO salaries, or do our nonprofit hospitals exist for the benefit of all Vermonters?