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Debate heats up about hospitals' charity



Miami-Dade citizens annually pay about $350 million in taxes for indigent healthcare but all of that money goes to Jackson Health System, which is government run and owned. In Broward, public hospitals also get all the healthcare tax money ? about $205 million a year. Advisors to Gov. Rick Scott think that's the wrong way to pay for care for the uninsured and poor. They believe "tax dollars should follow the patients," meaning whatever hospital treats the uninsured should get the tax money to pay for that patient. A powerful business lobbying group, Associated Industries of Florida, agrees. "Taxes are intended to provide access to care for the poor, not to subsidize inefficient operations, bricks and mortar, or lousy governance," says Alan Levine, the former head of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, who prepared a report for Scott on healthcare. "Irrespective of who operates Jackson, the tax dollars should go where the care is being provided."


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