Bernalillo County Voters Should be Skeptical of UNMH Mill Levy

Every eight years, University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) must ask Bernalillo County voters to renew the Hospital’s Mill Levy. Bernalillo County imposes a mill levy for the Hospital at a rate approximating 6.400 on both residential and non-residential property in the County. This money is used to fund Hospital operations. Initially, $95 million will be collected annually although the exact number will fluctuate based on property values and economic conditions in the County. The trend should be upwards, however.

  • As of June 2016, UNMH served 6,812 uninsured county residents. If that trajectory holds through December that would mean the Hospital will serve 13,624 uninsured patients in 2016.

In 2013, UNMH served approximately 27,000 county residents. UNMH is now serving less than half the uninsured county residents as they did in 2013.

New Mexicans are paying the bills for both the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion that is reducing those “uncompensated care” rates, but UNMH wants to continue taking hundreds of dollars from both commercial and residential property owners throughout Bernalillo County for another eight years!

As the Rio Grande Foundation’s Paul Gessing argues in a new issue brief, voters should consider sending UNMH “back to the drawing board” for a smaller mill levy that reflects the falling costs of uncompensated care. The image below illustrates how the current UNMH mill levy impacts at least one property owner’s tax bill.

Image result for unm hospital mill levy

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7 Replies to “Bernalillo County Voters Should be Skeptical of UNMH Mill Levy”

  1. You may have blurred the name and address of the property owner, but with the address or property ID (that are there) anyone can look this up thru on-line tax records. just an FYI…

  2. Hi Paul,

    Would you mind being transparent and list your citations? You are making an argument that is likely based in some inaccurate information, and possibly biasing the voters of the county in an incorrect fashion. From June to December 2015, UNMH served nearly 400,000 patient encounters (a number that is drastically different from the number, 27,000, you cited in 2013) and for that same 6 month period, UNMH incurred nearly $36 million in uncompensated care costs secondary to Bernalillo county residents.


    We desperately need the Mill Levy to care improve our facilities (circa 1954) so we can better care for patients (like yourself), train the next generation of physicians, and continue to employ county citizens!

    Further Reading:

    Thanks Paul for trying to help educate our voters! Let’s do it in an objective way!

  3. A major argument for the mill levy is UNMH’s role as the state’s trauma center. Since the hospital serves the entire state in this capacity, it’s unfair for Bernalillo County taxpayers to underwrite the entire cost.

    Certainly the hospital merits government funding, but it’s time for a thorough review of UNMH financing and governance.

    I’m also a little skeptical of UNMH’s aggressive marketing campaign. I began questioning the need for the tax after I got a phone call from a “push poll” sponsored by UNMH. The survey was so annoying that my opinion changed from neutral to unfavorable by the end of the questionnaire.

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