Posts Tagged ‘taxpayers’

Hospitals Crying Wolf While Shaking Down Taxpayers

Hospitals Crying Wolf While Shaking Down Taxpayers

In just over a week, the Tennessee legislature will convene a special session to debate Gov. Haslam’s “Insure Tennessee” plan, a proposed Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. The Tennessee Hospital Association, which has lobbied for an expansion for years by claiming that rural hospitals would be forced to close their doors without the additional federal dollars, has begun a costly propaganda campaign to pressure legislators into supporting the governor’s plan.
But of course, we should be skeptical at best when hospital executives talk to patients and taxpayers. Here are just a few examples of why they can’t be trusted:

  • Hospitals across the country have been artificially lining their own pockets by scamming low-income patients out of their discounted prescription drugs using a federally funded program called 340B. Data on the operations of Tennessee hospitals show they are among the worst offenders. Read why here.
  • Erlanger hospital system in Chattanooga, a huge proponent of Medicaid expansion as a form of a bailout for supposedly struggling hospitals, dished $1.7 million in bonuses to its top management for financial performances at the end of 2014. Read about the scandal here.
  • HCA (Hospital Centers of America, and now “TriStar”), which was founded in Nashville and has expanded nationally, is the culprit of the largest fraud case in Medicare history. “The company seemed more organized-crime outfit than health-care provider…billing for tests that weren’t necessary or ordered; submitted false diagnoses to increase reimbursements, paid kickbacks to doctors for patient referrals and billed for home visits that people didn’t qualify for or receive.” Again—all to pad their bottom line. They settled with the feds for $2 billion. Read about it here.
  • And in developing news, nonprofit hospitals are allegedly seizing the wages of lower-income and working-class patients. Now, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says these hospitals “could be breaking the law by suing these patients and docking their pay…” Further, “Grassley says the ACA requires that hospitals take the initiative to determine whether patients qualify for financial aid. The hospital is not supposed to shift that burden onto the patients.” And yet, that’s exactly what some are doing. Read about it here.

And so these stories beg the question: Can Tennesseans trust the million-dollar executives and lobbying arms of the hospitals when they promise us that they’ll not shift their financial costs associated with “Insure Tennessee” along to patients and taxpayers? Think about it.

-Lindsay Boyd

January 22nd, 2015 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Sign Up Now

Gov’t Waste Exposed in West Tennessee

Action News 5 in Memphis analyzes Beacon’s 2014 Pork Report, and gets the reaction of local officials who were caught abusing taxpayer money. One official even admitted to failing to follow the law:

Haywood County taxpayers forked out $41,000 for a new fingerprint machine, another $39,000 for two used patrol cars, and nearly $40,000 for new tires for school buses at Haywood County Schools. None of those items went through the proper bidding requirements.

“We try to comply with the law, but there are occasions that we don’t,” Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith said. “We didn’t fulfill the requirement, as far as advertising fingerprint machines or the vehicles, but we didn’t solicit bids locally.”

When asked if that was against the law, Smith said, “Well it’s a violation, yeah, and I get written up for it.”

Watch the entire story here.

 

October 8th, 2014 | Commentary

Tennessee Taxpayers Can Send a Clear Message to Washington

Tennessee Taxpayers Can Send a Clear Message to Washington

With all the news about corporate inversions, where large corporations move their headquarters “on paper” to a country with a lower corporate tax rate, it is easy to lose sight of who actually employs most Americans—small businesses on Main Street.

As our political leaders and national media call for the closing of this particular loophole, those of us at Beacon know this one loophole is not the biggest issue, and in fact businesses are considering these decisions because of the larger unfair corporate tax structure that encourages business to move overseas. This is just a symptom of a larger issue.

Perhaps this is best illustrated at the state level. As Tennesseans, we pride ourselves on responsible governance, on maintaining the lowest debt per capita in the nation, of being the third freest state in the union, and competing amongst the short-list of states without an income tax. In fact, we don’t believe that good is good enough. Many leaders in our state legislature are also calling for a repeal of our Hall Tax on investment income to ensure that Tennessee remains a competitive incubator for future economic growth. In so doing, we’ll become a magnet for businesses in other states to relocate to a more business-friendly environment.

It’s time for Washington to take note of Tennessee’s example. We need full-scale tax reform for all businesses and all Americans. We need an all-out assault on spending in Washington.

A fairer and flatter tax code that broadens the tax burdens for all Americans and American businesses, paired with reined in spending, is necessary if we want Tennesseans and small business owners to have the cash to invest in their future and live their American Dream.

Helping you pursue your version of the American Dream is at the very core of Beacon’s mission. Just this week, the Beacon Center and CEO Justin Owen participated in an event with U.S. Rep. Diane Black and the Main Street Growth and Opportunity Coalition of small business and community leaders to discuss these market-based state and national tax reforms. As a member of both the House Ways and Means Committee and Budget Committee, Rep. Black is uniquely positioned to impact the decisions on how our tax dollars are spent. She has been a leader in promoting pro-growth legislation and policy discussions since residents of the 6th District first sent her to Washington.

Of course, she cannot do this alone. Our state and nationally elected officials must hear from Tennesseans across the state. Let us join in the call for repealing our state’s Hall Tax and stand with Rep. Black to bring true corporate tax and spending reform to Washington.

-Lindsay Boyd

August 28th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News