Sunday, October 14, 2007

Greater Milwaukee Committee Goes for the Short-Term Money

For a bunch of people which ought to be able to distinguish "long-term" from "short-term," this is a disappointment.

The Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), one of the state's most powerful business associations, announced today its support for a proposed tax on hospitals to achieve the goal of providing access to affordable health care for Wisconsin.

There are a number of problems with the Doyle proposal. First among them is that it is an implicit advancement of the Nanny State (Federal Division.) Nothing could be further from Federalist ideals than grasping for Washington money to solve a Wisconsin problem.

Secondly, raising the cost-of-doing-business for hospitals (even though this triggers "free money" subsidization of those hospitals) doesn't stand to reason, particularly when you recognize that "free money" from politicians is simply NOT FREE!

Finally, what's to say that the subsidy will last? Or at the current rate? There's a bit of the "sin tax" buried in here; if the revenue source goes away (or diminishes), THEN what? Clear-sighted hospital execs understand this point very well:

...Gundersen Lutheran CEO Dr. Jeff Thompson said Thursday their opposition hasn’t changed.“While I’m a big fan of getting our own tax dollars back to pay for our health care and relieve the burden on our businesses, this system has such a risk of not being sustainable, and not being sustained by all the federal rules,” he said.

"Capitalists" ain't what they used to be. It's the short-term (read: profit-based bonus) that counts, not long-term viability.

UPDATE: Another blogger mentions that the hospital tax was re-written to terminate at the end of the budget bi-ennium, thus it will NOT be dependent on the vagaries of Fed spending. So the mechanics may be better--but the principles are still "under the bus."

Not exactly a redeeming virtue. Sorry.


Michael J. Mathias said...

Well, what they realize is that, long term, our healthcare system kills profits.

Dad29 said...

Yah--so they expect the taxpayer to bail their asses out.

What about all that "free enterprise" stuff they yammer about all day?