NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Citing Sept. 11, NYC Hospitals Line Up For Federal Cash

November 7, 2001

As it slowly became obvious that the search for large numbers of World Trade Center survivors was futile, emergency rooms at many New York City hospitals sat idle. But the city's private hospitals have now sent a bill of $313 million to Washington for costs allegedly associated with Sept. 11.

Critics see the move as crass opportunism.

  • More than 60 percent of the "losses" they claim have not occurred yet and have little to do with the terror attacks, analysts note.
  • State and local governments already kick in billions of dollars a year to support New York's hospitals.
  • The state, for instance, pays its medical centers about $544 million a year to subsidize doctor training -- even though New York has a surplus of physicians and half of those trained leave the state to practice elsewhere.
  • To bolster their claims, hospitals are projecting a $200 million decline in revenues over the next several months as patients cancel or put off procedures -- especially elective ones -- as a result of the souring New York economy.

Critics charge that to keep the government money flowing, New York's hospitals and their chief ally -- the health care workers union, Local 1199 -- have become well-oiled lobbying machines. Last year, they spent a record $13 million successfully lobbying for a new health care bill that turns over $9 billion in money from the federal tobacco settlement to New York State's Medicaid system -- already the most expensive in the country.

Source: Steven Malanga (Manhattan Institute), "Pork Barrel at Ground Zero," Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2001.

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