In other election news, if you were wondering where ACORN went, you may find some of its alums in the adminsitration of Govergnor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, a Democrat, whose Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing announced the the Hospital Outstationing Grant Program this past August. The grant awards ranged from just under $38,000 to just over $48,000, and appear to be pretty much automatic provided the participating hospital agrees to povide certain services.
One of those services is voter registration. That’s right: You get help to help the poor but only if you get them and all your patients registered to vote. (It looks on its face to require the providing hospital to offer registration to all pateints, not just the poor.)
The “register the patient to vote” requirement is contained in the Certified Application Assistance Site (CAAS) Application:
Our agency agrees to offer voter registration, pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C.S 1973gg-5(a)(2)(H) at the time of application and will be required to track the number of voter registrations offered.
That is pretty amazing. The State of Colorado will help hopsitals pay for care of the poor but only if you get those poor people and other patients registered to vote. Whatever the cost of setting up voter registration, it is going to come out of the grant.
The number of registrations must be tracked. Ah, paperwork, and the costs that go with it. Imagine the hospitals will also be tracking the addresses? Easiest thing to do is just copy the registrations themselves, right?
It is possible this is a requriement of federeal law, but the timing of the grant program –the August before the election– and the shocked reaction from hospital administrators I know in the state tell me it is not just coincidence.
It goes without saying that poor people have the right to vote. It should also go without saying that making aid to hospitals caring for the poor contingent on the opening of a voter registration service is a terrible use of scarce resources that should go to care, not political activity.
Heres the bill that established the grant program. Here’s the position description of the program manager. I can’t find any discussion of voter registration on a quick first read, but am headed out the door. Inquiring minds want to know: Did the voting registration strung get attached to the grant program because of federal law, state law, or administrative ruling? Let me know what you find out: firstname.lastname@example.org.