“This is ridiculous,” said Barwis. “It’s astronomical.”
Given three minutes to make his case – and then a little extra time beyond the buzzer to finish his remarks – Barwis spoke before the state Committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement at the Capitol on Thursday.
He aimed to show that the proposed new hospital would be poor and costly public policy, that it would hurt community hospitals like the one in
It’s not an easy battle for Barwis. Not only was he limited in speaking time during the hearing, but the economic study supporting the new hospital wasn’t done by an independent party, he said.
“It was compiled by a professor at UConn,” said Barwis, who said lawmakers deserve a report that couldn’t be considered biased. “They need to engage completely independent finance and economic experts to do the work.”
The impact on
If there’s a brand new hospital in a neighboring town and patients have a choice, the local hospital, without benefit of a state-sponsored expansion, could lose out, according to Barwis.
“We can’t compete with that,” he said.
Barwis told the committee that
Like other hospitals in the state, Barwis said,
“That’s vaporizing,” said Barwis. “We’re fragile.”
Another problem brought on by the recession, according to Barwis, is that job losses mean more uninsured patients, which means less income for the hospital.
“People are losing their jobs,” said Barwis. “There’s going to be more people on the state programs.”
Currently, the hospital provides more than $11 million in uncompensated care and charity every year, according to Barwis.
It is under these conditions that
Having almost half the market share will give the combined hospitals a competitive edge when dealing with insurers, according to Barwis.
“They’re going to be able to negotiate a higher price for their services,” said Barwis, which he said could eventually lead to higher insurance rates.
“A little bit of competition is never bad,” said Barwis. “It keeps everybody honest.”
Barwis said that
Barwis said he isn’t against everything that’s being proposed.
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Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org