In an August 2nd article discussing indigent health care delivered by the University of Louisville Hospital under the Quality and Charity Care Trust (“QCCT”), Mayor Greg Fischer’s spokesman, Chris Poynter, said that Louisville Metro’s budget “did not cut a single dollar out of QCCT. It’s been $7 million for years and it’s $7 million now. . . It is true the state did cut their portion, and it’s unfortunate. . .” This statement represents the height of disingenuousness.
Poynter told only part of the story. The city’s share of funding under the QCCT contract is $9.6 million, not $7 million. The city has consistently reduced its appropriation by 27% annually over the past several years by extracting an annual “rebate” from the Hospital to the tune of around $2.5 million. The difference this year is that the city got its “rebate” by a reduced appropriation. The Commonwealth funded the QCCT at the contracted-for amount, around $21 million annually, as has been its consistent practice throughout the past several budget cycles.
This year though, state legislators on the budget conference committee made it clear in negotiating the executive branch budget that if the city did not fund the QCCT at its contracted-for obligation, the Commonwealth would reduce its own funding dollar-for-dollar based on whatever amount the city appropriated. It became difficult to argue against imposing such a condition because the city had historically engaged in this pattern of conduct, enabling it to avoid its full share while still claiming to fully fund the program. So the city’s $2.6 million cut becomes a total cut of $5.2 million, a reduction the city could have avoided completely by funding the QCCT at the contracted-for amount, as the state did.
Mayor Fischer and his spokesman should set the record straight instead of telling partial truths.