My Turn: High hospital bills and Measure C |

My Turn: High hospital bills and Measure C

We were out of town most of August and when we returned we noticed these green and white signs dotted through out Truckee with “Yes on C.” I asked my husband it is not election time, is it?

No. That is February 5th, 2008.

Then what is this.

I don’t know he answered.

When we checked our mail, there it was a voter advertisement about the Measure C. We were so surprised to read that Tahoe Forest Hospital is asking the community to pay for its modernization. All $100 million of it, not a small change.

Now I am a liberal and have no problem with paying taxes to support community-supported entities. However, I was under the impression that Tahoe Forest Hospital was a private for-profit and not a community supported hospital. Am I wrong about this issue? If we are to pay for the hospital to remodel are we then going to get a discount when we use the hospital services? Their prices are going through the roof after they added the new luxurious wing. Just in May this year my husband had a simple out-patient hernia operation which he spent a total of 8 hours at Tahoe Forest Hospital and the hospital bill alone was $12,820.82. This did not include the surgeon or the anesthesiologist. For them we received separate bills. This is like $1,500 per hour for an out-patient surgery.

In addition we are not given a breakdown of how the $100 million or to be exact $98,500,000 will be spent? And how as community members we share in the hospital’s profit? If we are going to invest in the hospital shouldn’t we receive some return for our investment?

I think before we all go to the polls and vote on this measure we need more information than provided by the hospital and the registrar of voters. I am not sure if this would set a precedent for future for-profit businesses to ask for a tax bailout? If the hospital is bailed out by our taxes then why not the power company, the phone company, the gas company or even the real-estate businesses. They may all need earthquake retrofit or money for expansion. I understand that we need the hospital, but we also need other businesses. We need to know if the hospital is a for-profit private and will remain that way or is it a community-supported hospital. If it is private then they have to raise the money for their expansion and if we have to pay for it then we should not get a $1,500-per-hour bill for a simple hernia operation.

I wonder what do other Truckee residents think?

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