Saturday, March 26, 2011

New $70 Million BelWood Nursing Home - Proceed Only At Property Tax Payer Risk

Dilemma is the proper word. Board members should be given a copy of a headline article in the February 20, 2011 issue of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, titled "State poised to build on its Medicaid pilot". 'With effort to contain costs, critic fear that Florida is courting disaster'.

"Hearings have begun in the Florida House and Senate on a plan to cut Medicaid costs by moving most patients into private, managed care, which lawmakers say would, along with other cuts, save more than $3 billion over 3 years. Medicaid will soon eat up 1/3 of the state budget, doubling since 2001."

Also,an article in the March 10, 2011 of the WSJ, section A17, by Scott Gottlieb, Assistant Clinical Director of the New York University School of Medicine, titled, "Medicaid is Worse Than No Coverage At All" needs to be read by the entire board.

In a recent report, 18 states listed curbing Medicaid spending as their top priority this year. Blame is put largely on the recession pushing more people into government health care. 17 states already require other Medicaid enrollees-poor children and pregnant women, among others, to sign up for managed care.

Also, Peoria County Board members, your administrator should provide you with copies of an article headlined "Managed Care Goes Private" in the February 21, 2011 issue of the USA TODAY. Illinois last year awarded contracts to two insurers, Aetna and Centene, to provide care, including long-term-care services, for 40,000 recipients in the Chicago area.

Managed Care or new or renovated County Nursing Homes are perhaps neither a panacea. However, if the board is insistent on staying in the county nursing home business, it is fair to say that the 2003 referendum is no longer a true vote of how the property tax payers in Peoria County would look at the long term debt that would be required to stay in the County owned nursing home business. Most property tax payers are not aware they are already paying $3 million in direct and indirect property taxes to support BelWood today.

This a copy of an email I sent to members of the Peoria County Board, Administration and other interested parties. I titled this email, "Medicaid Dilemma and BelWood Nursing home - a $$70 million New Building project". As I understand, land for this new building has not as yet been purchased.

I noted that "anyone who believes that Caterpillar will forever make Peoria its headquarters" need read no further than today's Journal Star headline.

I urge that more details be made available by the all medias to the public about his approximately $70 million dollar expenditure. BelWood is already subsidized by approximately $3 million a year in property taxes.

Peoria already has some "white elephants", more may surface later and the PRM and the new downtown hotel are certainly no sure bets on never falling back on what many feel is an already under-performing overburdened and taxed community.

Anyone who believes that Caterpillar will forever make Peoria it’s headquarters is not paying attention to what is happening on the world business scene. Already, it is rumored that the new Illinois Income Tax has already cost the Peoria area 400-500 new jobs from one company alone. New museums, new taxpayer owned nursing homes and expanded zoos and an iffy ball park, etc., will probably NOT affect Caterpillar's decision should they decide to someday move headquarters closer to emerging economies.

Illinois anti-business and excessive taxes probably will. Or the advantages offered by right-to-work states which Illinois certainly is not; a result of lack of new businesses moving into Illinois and Peoria.

It's a changing world and spending decisions can not be made as quickly and easily as they were 8 or so, years ago. Or even in 2007 when maintenance at B-W was put on hold with the exception of life-safety issue maintenance.

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