STATE | Connecticut Legislature Looks at Repealing ASC Tax
During Connecticut's last budgeting process, the legislature was looking at ways to close their budget gap, and it passed a six percent tax on both hospitals and Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs). ASPS lobbied against the passage of this tax along with partners in organized medicine and patient advocates. At the time of passage, there were approximately 50 ASCs operating in Connecticut, and the tax was projected to cause a quarter of these to operate at a loss. Connecticut currently has the highest tax rate imposed on ASCs nationwide.
ASCs offer some of the highest quality and most cost effective care patients can receive. They provide safe, state of the art treatment at a fraction of the cost of hospital outpatient departments, as ASC reimbursement rates are close to 50 percent less than those for outpatient hospital settings. This care quality is achieved in spite of the already sizeable regulatory burden and increasing costs faced by these centers. Imposing large tax burdens on ASCs drives up the cost of care and reduces patient's access to affordable care.
A Possible Legislative Solution
Since February, the legislature has introduced over twenty bills proposing to phase out or repeal the ASC tax, the hospital tax or both. ASPS has been working to support the repeal of the ASC tax with the Connecticut Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Ambulatory Surgery Association, the American College of Surgeons, the American Society for Dermatological Surgery, and the Connecticut Citizens for Affordable Health Care. Thus far, one bill opposing to phase out the tax on ASCs has been heard by the Connecticut General Assembly's Joint Committee on Financing Revenue and Bonding. This bill has not been passed out of committee, but ASPS and its coalition partners will continue to advocate for its passage. Maintaining the viability of ASCs in Connecticut and nationwide is an important priority for the medical community and patients seeking access to affordable care.