For decades, the most vulnerable Floridians have depended on the state’s safety net hospitals to save their lives and care for their health. Each year, these hospitals care for large numbers of low-income children, sick babies, senior citizens and pregnant women. Safety net hospitals provide a critical public service that the state has historically supported with vital funding.

Now, Florida’s for-profit hospitals want to raid $318 million in state tax dollars that goes to help these safety net hospitals care for those who need help the most. Hospitals owned by out-of-state corporations want to pad their profits with tax dollars that have long been used to safeguard Floridians’ health. These hospitals are asking the state Senate to risk the lives of our vulnerable residents in order to pump up their stock prices.

We respectfully ask our senators to consider our perspective that this is bad policy: If the for-profits get their way, the impact on the safety net hospitals would be devastating. For Tampa General Hospital, the largest hospital in the region serving those most in need, it would mean additional cuts of $14.4 million.

To continue reading the full column in the Tampa Bay Times, please click here.

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