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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Vote ‘No’ on $50 million hospital bond
This letter is addressed to those of you on Whidbey who are considering voting in favor of the hospital bond measure, which I oppose.
Sometime back a fine firm, Copella Healthcare, offered to manage the hospital, but that offer was rejected by the powers that be. That firm manages 12 hospitals and turns a profit while ours operates at a deficit which tells me that Copella is doing it right.
The bond is intended to finance much-needed improvements, which I don’t dispute, but what I object to is the way the hospital board wants to do it. If the hospital were privately owned, the owners would make improvements at their own risk and expense in order to attract more patients and compete with other hospitals in the marketplace.
Now let’s consider the bond. Interest rates are rising but if the hospital can secure a rating of BAA, which is still investment grade, the coupon or interest would be 4.25 percent on a $50 million loan. That’s $2.1 million in interest payments. After 25 years the interest, plus the loan, is $103 million. That is the actual cost of the project. Now consider this: after 25 years, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that yet more improvements may be needed and more calls for yet another hospital bond?
Please join me in voting no on this measure.