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Fri January 18, 2013
Health Levy Extension To April Ballot
Kansas City, Missouri voters will decide on whether to keep the city's health levy at its present rate. The city council scheduled its extension to be on the April 2 ballot.
As the council prepared for a vote on sending the health levy extension to the voters, Councilman John Sharp reminded his colleagues that in addition to supporting Truman Medical Center and city health clinics, the 22-cents per hundred dollar valuation temporary property tax helps offset losses on ambulance service for the uninsured, and for those who are covered through Medicaid.
Sharp explained that Missouri Medicaid only pays 24 percent of ambulance bills, and the collection rate from people with no insurance at all is only 3 percent. The health levy covers part of the resulting annual losses, which can add up to $15 million or more.
Sharp added, "Even if Missouri Medicaid is expanded, unless you expand reimbursement rates, and nobody is even talking about that, it still doesn't cover anywhere near the cost of providing ambulance service... because) ambulance reimbursement rated under Missouri Medicaid are among the lowest in the nation."
The council unanimously endorsed asking the voters for a 9-year extension of the health levy. It will appear on the ballot with other issues already scheduled for an April 2 election.