To their credit, Governor Jan Brewer and the conservative majority in the Arizona Legislature appear to have rejected a proposal by the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association to tax patients $280 a day on their hospital visits, as part of a plan to raise taxes by $465 million a year to leverage more federal reimbursements for Medicaid/AHCCCS patients.
In response, three Arizona hospital groups have offered, in essence, to tax themselves in order to leverage federal Medicaid monies:
But let’s look at what would actually happen. Those Arizonans who pay federal taxes to support Medicaid would have to pay more taxes. To the extent that the federal government went further into debt to support the extra Medicaid payments, the holders of dollars printed by Ben Bernanke and the U.S. Treasury would effectively see a small tax on the purchasing power of those green pieces of paper.
Also, note that the Maricopa Integrated Health System, one of the would-be participants in the scheme, is a government entity paid for in part by the property taxes of Maricopa County residents. So, MIHS would be using property tax dollars to leverage Medicaid dollars provided by federal taxpayers (and Ben Bernanke).
Finally, the University of Arizona Health Network, another of the would-be participants in the new proposal, receives a portion of its funding from the state government–i.e., state taxpayers.
Once again, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. And a tax by any other name is still a tax.
For Liberty, Tom
Americans for Prosperity