Q. Why is it important for Kansas Citians to approve Question 1?
A. It is important that Kansas Citians vote yes on Question 1 on April 2 because the cost of NOT renewing the Health Levy would significantly exceed the cost of renewing it. If we don’t renew the levy, patients who are unable to receive needed care will become an additional cost the city has to shoulder. And, private hospitals that aren’t getting paid for providing services to uninsured or underinsured patients will be forced to raise their costs for everyone else. This is not a new tax but a continuation of the existing Health Levy. In short, the Health Levy is a common sense solution to prevent a much larger problem.
Q: How is the Health Levy assessed?
A. Approximately one-third of the existing Health Levy is up for renewal in April. The levy is set at 22 cents per $100 of assessed valuation on property in Kansas City, Missouri. An owner of a home assessed at $100,000 pays less than $4.00 per month to help provide critical health care services in our community.
Q. Won’t the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) take care of this need?
A. The Affordable Care Act may have a positive long-term impact on health care in the United States. However, there are short-term challenges and continues to be a great deal of uncertainty. As a result, we need to ensure that Kansas City continues to take care of our own – we can’t depend on Washington or Jefferson City to do that for us.
Q. When does the tax sunset?
A. The Health Levy will be renewed for nine years. This accommodates enough time to understand the implications of Obamacare as it is implemented over the next several years.
Q: Do the safety net providers and other’s receiving funds from the Health Levy provide services to undocumented immigrants or Johnson or Wyandotte County residents?
A. Health Levy dollars are used only for services and care provided to residents of Kansas City, Missouri. The Health Levy is a wonderful example of Kansas City taking care of its own.
Q: With all of the focus on mental health issues, will the Health Levy provide new resources or programs to address mental health?
A. Truman Medical Centers has made significant advancements serving those with mental health challenges in part thanks to the stability of this funding. However, without this extension, services will need to be cut. It is critical to our community to continue to fund this Health Levy.
Q. How do Kansas Citians know where this money is going?
A. We have a seven-year proven track record of using the Health Levy funding as outlined by law and for the benefit of all of Kansas City. In addition, this portion of the Health Levy can be used only for the Safety Net Providers and by law the city is prohibited from diverting these funds to any other uses. Health Levy dollars are used only for services provided to residents of Kansas City, Missouri.
The 2005 Ballot Language clearly identified where money would go. Out of the 22 cent Health Levy, the following received:
- 15 cents to Truman Medical Centers,
- 3.5 cents to ambulance service, and
- 3.5 cents to neighborhood health clinics such as Swope Health Services and Northland Health Care Access.
Because the city did its job, and the safety nets used the funding to meet the city’s needs, we are in a strong position today. In fact, under the leadership of Co-chairman Landon Rowland, the Kansas City Health Commission recently unanimously endorsed this renewal after multiple community hearings.
Q. How does the Health Levy support the Northland?
A. The Health Levy truly benefits all Kansas Citians. The safety net and health care providers, including Swope Health Services, Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center and Truman Medical Center all have Northland clinics and affiliations. In addition, the ambulance services provided by the Health Levy help citizens in all corners of the City, including the Northland.