Tallahassee Weighs in on County's Indigent Health Care Plan

Leon County's proposed comprehensive health care plan aims to provide primary care for an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people in the county with no health coverage.

In many cases, a burden carried by local emergency rooms.

Parwez Alam, Leon County administrator, said, "The hospitals are losing $18 million a year in charity and unpaid care, we hope to make a difference there, we hope the people will get the health care at a much lower cost than they get when they show up at the emergency room."

Last month, the county decided to let the health care issue and a half cent sales tax to support the comprehensive plan go before the voters in November.

On Tuesday, the city heard the plan straight from the county for the first time.

Allan Katz, Tallahassee City Commissioner, said, "I am disappointed they had not sat down with the city to work out ways that we can all deal with the social services community in a positive way all together and hopefully now, we'll have an opportunity to do that."

Katz is also expressing concern about how the program is structured and how it will be administered, input the county says it welcomes.

Parwez Alam said, "We will work with the city to improve the plan, to sign up the people, to make sure medical care is being provided to the uninsured, most of which are city residents."

If voters approve the plan and tax, the county hopes to roll it out by June of next year. It will only be available to county residents who meet the strict eligibility guidelines.

The county estimates it will cost each resident about $52 to $59 a year.