On January 6, NACo and the 3,069 counties we represent, sent a letter to U.S. House leadership in response to their request for input on health care recommendations (letter sent to governors and insurance commissioners on December 2, 2016).
In the letter, NACo explains that counties invest $83 billion annually in community health systems and are the cornerstones of care in their communities, through:
- 961 county-supported hospitals;
- 883 county-owned and supported long-term care facilities;
- 750 county behavioral health authorities; and
- 1,943 county public health departments.
Counties often help finance and administer the Medicaid program, and it is crucial to helping counties:
- meet their often mandated obligations to provide health care for low-income populations, including the underinsured and uninsured, the homeless and those cycling in and of county jails;
- keep rural hospitals and clinics open and retain health professionals to care for aging populations; and
- fund behavioral health services and combat the opioid epidemic.
Counties also provide health insurance to 2.5 million employees and 2.4 million dependents, spending an estimated $20 billion to $24 billion annually on health insurance premiums.
As Congress considers changes to the nation’s health care system, NACo urges them to consider implications of reforms that would merely shift costs to counties. Counties’ stand ready to work with Congress to identify strategies to strengthen our nation’s health system and provide high-quality coverage and access to care for all of their residents while being responsible stewards of local taxpayer dollars.