If only Grady Healthcare CEO Mike Young had a hot line to the White House.
Young, speaking at today’s Rotary Club of Atlanta, said the nation’s 55 million uninsured residents could meet all their health care needs with an annual $10 billion infusion from the federal government.
Currently, healthcare reform is the topic de jour in Washington D.C., with a lively debate on how best to insure the uninsured. Estimates for a federal government program have been as high as $1 trillion.
But Young said there’s a much more efficient and effective way to provide healthcare to those in need. For $10 billion, the federal government could give direct grants to the public hospitals around the country, currently the institutions that are shouldering the burden of providing care to those with no insurance.
Grants would vary in size depending on the amount of indigent care the public hospitals provide. In Grady’s case, a $100 million grant would make all the difference in the world.
“If you do the math, for $10 billion a year, you would divide those dollars among the hospitals,” Young said, adding that the health care they would receive would be first rate. “(The system) is already there. For $100 million, we would be in the black.”
Instead, Young said it appeared as though the federal government would decide to offer “the full buffet” with health insurance for all. And for those who already receive health insurance through work would then be taxed for those benefits.
Young also had some thoughts about how the state of Georgia could save some money. The state is planning to spend $35 million on a medical school program for the Medical College of Georgia that would produce 40 medical students.
Meanwhile, Grady helps train 400 medical students each year for a much lower number.
“The cost of training all of our residents is about $85 million,” Young said. Interestingly enough, Grady’s costs of providing Level One trauma health care and medical training is experiencing about a $40 million budget gap.
“I need your help on the political side,” Young told Rotarians. “Does it make sense to spend $35 million for 40 doctors? Grady is not an Atlanta resource. It is a Georgia resource…. A little bit of support for Grady now will save billions of dollars (the cost if Grady does not survive).”
Young did say Grady is making progress. Last year, the hospital provided $280 million in free medical care and gave away another $40 million in drugs. But it also has been reducing its expenses and seeking new sources of revenue. As a result, it has been able to pay off $41 million in prior debts.
Young also urged Rotarians to support Grady’s current $325 million capital campaign.
“Your gifts are so important. We are up to $270 million in gifts,” Young said, admitting that he initially didn’t think the hospital would be able to raise those kind of dollars. “Now I’m absolutely confident that we will hit the $325 million.”