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Impact of ObamaCare on County budget and special levies

To: Three County Commissioners, Chairman and Members of Tax Levy Review Committee, Hamilton County Sheriff Dear Sirs/Madame: As you are aware, COAST is the leading government accountability organization in Southwest Ohio. Specifically and consistently we have advocated on matters of the County budget and the County special property tax levies in an attempt to relieve, if even modestly, the oppressive burden on the beleaguered taxpayers of Hamilton County. We are writing to encourage you to scour every nook and cranny of the County budget, and especially the special levies, for savings arising from the implementation of ObamaCare. We are convinced that there are tens of millions of dollars savings annually available to Hamilton County taxpayers if you simply seize this opportunity. Although we see ObamaCare as one of the most devastating programs in our nation's history for the healthcare system, individual liberty and our nation's economy, it has the direct and undisputable effect of funding many of the programs that we presently fund through special levies in Hamilton County, and perhaps additional programs through the County's general fund. Thus, if you continue funding the same programs with local dolalrs, it is a windfall of unprecedented proportions for local agencies. As a result, it an imperative of your office, from COAST's perspective, that we immediately relieve Hamilton County taxpayers of the burdens of property taxation that ObamaCare will provide. Because we have ZERO confidence that the funded agencies will voluntarily come forward and admit they do not need funding for programs funded by ObamaCare, it is critical that the Commissioners and the Tax Levy Review Committee work diligently to ferret out each dime of savings ObamaCare will provide. We expect these include the following: * Complete elimination of the indigent care levy. Because ObamaCare wholly funds what was previously "uncompensated care" and because the indigent care levy was to fund the gap of "uncompensated care," there is no need for the levy at all anymore.

* The portion of the special levy designed to fund inmate healthcare at the Justice Center and elsewhere is no longer needed, as ObamaCare will also fund the uncompensated care for inmates. This is also true of healthcare provided through Juvenile Court, Talbert House, Beech Acres and similar residential programs. * Because ObamaCare provides parity for mental health care, the Mental Health Levy should no longer be need, or be able to be greatly reduced. * We believe significant portions of the Children's Services, Senior Services and Developmental Disabilities levies can be scaled back as we suspect ObamaCare funds portions of the services those levies previously provided. Using both County budget analysts and consultants to pour through the budgets and ferret out the millions of dollars in savings available would be money well spent by the County. Assuredly, (and we admit this is a cynical but unfortunate view of the situation) if they can, the funded agencies will divert funds into new programs (they may already be doing this) to justify continuation of the levies. We must act aggressively now to assure that we don't just "continue business as usual." We have a huge opportunity to benefit Hamilton County taxpayers, albeit from this wasteful and ill-considered federal program. (As a side note, we know what will happen without your diligence because history tells us this. Originally, Drake Center was a nursing home for "incurables," and locally-funded facilities throughout the nation were phased out with the implementation of Medicare and Medicaid. For decades thereafter, however, a "re-purposed" Drake stayed on the County tax rolls entirely unnecessarily because its Board and the beneficiaries of the tax levy never came forward and admitted the monies simply were not needed any longer. We must make sure this experience is not repeated.) Please seize this opportunity. on your progress. Sincerely yours, As you can, please provide us with updates

Tom Brinkman, Jr. Chairman