Liz Thomas on Trumansburg Ambulance Service
There’s been a great deal of controversy over the last few months over the proposal to privatize our Ambulance service. With talk of a private billing service being hired to pursue Ulysses residents to pay the bill whenever EMS is used, there’s a been a skeptical reaction. At a recent public meeting on the subject, all 9 volunteers who showed up spoke in opposition to the plan.
Here’s what Town Board member Liz Thomas has to say on the matter.
“On June 18th, the Village held a public hearing for all residents within the Fire District on a proposal to move from providing taxpayer-funded ambulance service to a bill-for-service system. Billing for ambulance transport would allow the Fire District to recover some funds from health insurance companies, which many of us feel is a justified use of our insurance. However, many residents have no insurance and the result of this switch to billing for service is that everyone will be billed, not just those who are insured. It should be noted that the Village is willing to commit to forego collection of bills for uninsured individuals, if it is legally permissible.
I would estimate nearly 100 people attended the hearing, and the majority who spoke, including several EMS volunteers, were in favor of keeping the system as is. From my point of view, the audience seemed inclined to continue taxpayer funded emergency medical service coverage for all, regardless of whether they are insured or not.”
As for myself, I take special note of the following sentence in what Thomas has to say: “It should be noted that the Village is willing to commit to forego collection of bills for uninsured individuals, if it is legally permissible.”
There’s a pretty big IF in that statement, when it comes to what’s legally permissible, and a loophole that those who seek to extract money could drive a bus through.
Also, I’d like to know what the Village plans to do about the underinsured. Our community is not just divided up into insured and uninsured. There are a lot of self-employed people in Trumansburg and Ulysses, and we tend to have pretty bad medical insurance, because we don’t belong to the big employment pools that can negotiate special rates.
What’s the Village willing to do for the underinsured, when it comes to ambulance service? If we’re not covered for ambulance service, will we not be billed, or will only those with absolutely no medical insurance whatsoever be given a break…
… if the Village makes the legal interpretation about whether that’s permissible.
These are hard economic times, and the way that health insurance in the USA is likely to be going through big changes in the next four years. Property values in Ulysses are going up right now.
Is there really a reason to rush this decision through this year?