Mayors call for passage of hospital fee bill

A coalition of N.J. mayors – including Senate candidate and Newark Mayor Cory Booker – called Tuesday for passage of a bill that would allow imposition of a special fee in some cities that would generate matching federal funds for care of needy patients.

Booker, along with Camden Mayor Dana Redd and Jersey City Mayor-elect Steven Fulop, called for passage of S2466, which is slated to be heard today by the Senate Budget Committee.

The bill would allow cities that have so-called “safety net’’ hospitals that care for the neediest patients to impose a fee that could spur federal matches.

The fee, which could be capped at 5.47 percent, would be imposed on hospitals in those towns.

“The critics may try to mischaracterize this plan, but it is an innovative way to capture federal dollars and target their use to the hospitals that provide a safety net for those most in need of medical care,” Booker said in a release.

And Redd said that “This hospital fee idea succeeded in Philadelphia and it can succeed in New Jersey.”

The bill would set up a five-year pilot program in a maximum of seven cities or counties. 

Regarding cities, the program would be limited to cities with two or more general hospitals and a population over 270,000.

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