HARTFORD – Connecticut Citizens for Affordable Health Care (CCAHC) – a broad coalition of health professionals and patient advocates mobilizing to preserve patient access to community-based surgical care – today commended Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee lawmakers for examining legislation to repeal the six percent tax on ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). Advocates stress that there is broad opposition to the tax due to its negative impact on patients, healthcare providers and taxpayers across Connecticut.
“We applaud legislative efforts to repeal this damaging ASC tax and encourage the state legislature to pass legislation this session to preserve patient access to community-based surgical care. By taking action, policymakers will help Connecticut’s ASCs maintain their commitment to providing patients with convenient access to high-quality, cost-effective surgical services,” said Cathy Bartell, Administrator of Connecticut Surgery Center.
There has been statewide disapproval for the ASC provider tax since it went into effect on October 1, 2015. A statewide poll of Connecticut voters completed in October found that 81 percent of voters surveyed – or 4 out of 5 – disapprove of the tax, which could force a quarter of the state’s ASCs to operate at a financial loss, putting the availability of same-day surgical care in the community setting at significant risk.
If forced to operate at a loss as a result of this tax, advocates warn some of the state’s 47 ACS may close, driving patients into the more expensive and less accessible hospital setting for same-day surgical care. Center closures could also lead to job loss for healthcare professionals across the state.
If unable to access same-day surgeries in the ASC setting, patients across Connecticut will also experience steeper out-of-pocket costs in the form of higher deductibles, co-payments and insurance. Further, state healthcare costs will increase due to a shift of patients to the more expensive outpatient hospital setting. On average, Medicare and other healthcare providers reimburse ASCs at half (53%) the rate of hospitals resulting in lower costs for patients and taxpayers. Without repeal, state healthcare costs will inevitably increase, negatively impacting patients, health insurers, employers and taxpayers alike.
“This bill is an opportunity to ensure patients have access to a comprehensive range of safe, clinically-advanced services in the community-based setting,” added Bartell. “I strongly urge our state lawmakers to advance this legislation in order to protect lower healthcare costs for patients, their families, their employers and state taxpayers.”
In addition to offering a lower-cost care setting, an estimated 90 percent of ASC patients report high satisfaction rates and experience low infection rates of less than one percent due to highly controlled environments, rigorous infection prevention and early detection practices.
To learn more, visit www.AffordableCareForCT.org.