Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Garrett Backs Veto of Sussex & Warren County Hospital Funding

An article in the New Jersey Herald on Monday pointed to the impending loss of Medicare Section 508 funding and it's impact on Sussex and Warren County hospitals. Here's how the Herald described the problem:
Hospitals have been receiving higher per-patient reimbursement rates over the last three years to help them recruit physicians and provide care to Medicare beneficiaries in an increasingly expensive labor market. The higher rates brought them in line with the "wage index" of New York City, but now some hospitals will revert to their original wage index of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, which means less revenue coming in, Czajkowski said.

This change will result in a loss of $15 million of funding for our State's rural hospitals, including those in Sussex and Warren County. The loss of funding is likely to result in layoffs and increased costs to cover lost revenue. Here's how Representative Scott Garrett explained the issue:
"Northwestern New Jersey is a unique situation in that its hospitals are in rural areas, but at the same time compete with the most expensive labor market in the country. So long as preserving top quality healthcare services for Northwestern New Jersey is important, maintaining Section 508 funding is important, " Garrett said. "Without it, the residents of Warren and Sussex counties could be many miles away from specialized healthcare and psychiatric services.

The problem is, Garrett has voted against renewing the very Section 508 funding he's talking about, and the President just vetoed it today along with the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The extension is Title V, Section 508 of the bill. I know I don't usually criticise Garrett on large bills, because there's simply too much to them, however with the SCHIP bill it is appropriate.

It's appropriate because Garrett's only arguments against the main intention of the SCHIP bill are based on lies. It's appropriate because of the number of the people served by the SCHIP program in our District. It's appropriate because almost all of the NJ hospitals losing Section 508 funding are in the Fifth District. It's also appropriate because Garrett has reverted to his old self of saying one thing and voting another way.

Garrett has yet to come up with an honest reason to cut health insurance for 130,000 New Jersey children; and pretends to be worried about the quality of care in Western New Jersey when he knows he has the best health care coverage and access to the best doctors in the Nation.

Votes speak louder than words, and Garrett has a very big vote coming up. It's one of those rare second chances in life where he is being given yet another chance to choose between his constituents very real world needs and Presitdent Bush's very flimsy ideology. I really doubt Garrett will change his mind, but the idea of taking health care from kids and senior citizens won't sit well with voters.

No comments: