A critical need for ambulance fees
By Richard Bowers
John T. Bentivoglio’s Oct. 6 letter criticizing The Post’s editorial in favor of Montgomery County’s proposed ambulance fee reminded me of the old saying: You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts.
The fact is that there is no evidence from the many jurisdictions with ambulance fees that people are more reluctant to call 911 when they have a medical emergency, just as there is no evidence of any resulting insurance premium increases. I know, because the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service asked. The reason there are no increases on premiums is that these are premiums already being paid — reimbursements that other jurisdictions are using to improve service and save lives.
Mr. Bentivoglio claims a burden would fall on the county’s poor because of ambulance fees. That’s false, too.
No Montgomery County resident, whether insured or uninsured, rich or poor, would pay one dime, receive a bill or be responsible for co-pays and deductibles. Non-county residents without insurance — who do not pay county taxes — would receive a bill, along with a hardship-waiver application with a generous eligibility threshold set at incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty line.
The fact is that ambulance reimbursement means a safer Montgomery for everyone, because the Fire and Rescue Service would have the resources to meet critical needs — at no additional cost to county residents. Let’s give our firefighters and paramedics what they need to keep us safe. The Post got it exactly right.
The writer is chief of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.
| October 11, 2010; 9:44 PM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Maryland, Montgomery County
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