Proposition 480 asks for approval to issue up to $1.6 billion in debt including interest to fund capital expenditures for the public hospital system in Maricopa county, with debt service to be paid by a new property tax increase.
For such a large bond issue, the proposal is light on detail about what exactly we would be funding. Generally, they want to completely rebuild major public hospital facilities, an expense they say is necessary to provide medical care to “underserved populations”. But by any measure, there is no shortage of private, quality hospital service throughout Maricopa County. Those private hospitals accept AHCCCS (Medicaid)—which was recently expanded—and already are required to provide emergency service to anyone regardless of ability to pay.
Perhaps at one time the Maricopa Integrated Health System, which (according to its voter information pamphlet) traces its origins to 1871, served an important purpose in a once rural, agrarian county. Now it stands as a prime example of a government program that has outlived its mission but continues to act out of self-preservation. MIHS operations should be wound down and spun off, not reinvested in. Vote NO on 480.