The Massachusetts Senate moves forward with its plan to require financially sound hospitals to pay into a fund used to reduce health insurance premiums. Is it a tax? No. Of course not. They're calling it a "contribution." From the AP:
Wealthier hospitals would be required to make a one-time $100 million contribution to ease insurance premiums for smaller businesses under a bill approved Tuesday by the state Senate.
…Senate Republicans sought to strip the $100 million hospital assessment from the bill. Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei, R-Wakefield, said the assessment amounts to a tax increase on hospitals. He said some bigger hospitals might be able to afford it, but smaller community hospitals might not.
Fellow Republican, Sen. Robert Hedlund of Weymouth, said calling the assessment a "contribution" was disingenuous.
"Is this the proper term to use when the Legislature takes money from one private entity to give it to another private entity?" he asked. "We're going down a troubling path."
Sen. Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford, backed the assessment, saying that just because hospitals are considered charities doesn't mean some don't also have deep pockets.
"All charities are not created equally," Montigny said. "There are some struggling charities in this climate … and there are many in the exact opposite place."
The Republican amendment failed.