But, he added, “We will need our community to help fund the difference.’’
Jackson already receives significant public funding from local tax revenue — in property taxes and a half-penny sales tax — that amounted to $335 million last year.
The hospital system also receives millions in federal funding meant to offset the costs of treating many uninsured patients. But that money could be reduced under a proposal unveiled in May by federal health officials, who had anticipated that more uninsured Americans would have access to Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.
But Florida legislators declined to expand Medicaid coverage in the state, and it is unclear how that will affect the volumes of uninsured patients at hospitals such as Jackson.
Asking county voters for additional public funding could be a challenge politically, but Edmonson said local voters should not be turned off by the referendum if the commission puts it on the ballot.
She said the issue is nothing like the Miami Dolphins’ failed effort to place a referendum before voters to help pay for $350 million in upgrades to Sun Life Stadium. State legislators nixed the proposal.
“I don’t think this is similar to the Dolphins at all,’’ Edmonson said. “This is a public service. The people own it. If anyone is going to fix it and make it better, it has to be the people. There’s no private industry in it.’’
Jackson officials likely will have to spend several million dollars to campaign countywide for approval of the bond referendum if Miami-Dade commissioners agree to call the election in November, when several municipal elections are scheduled to take place. Edmonson said she will ask Carlos Migoya, chief executive of Jackson, about his plans.
At Monday’s meeting, Migoya indicated that a campaign is already beginning to gel.
“There are support groups out there looking to provide the campaign necessary to make sure the public is aware of the needs at Jackson … and hopefully votes on its behalf,’’ he said.
In a written statement issued after the meeting, Migoya hinted at the potential sales pitch to voters.
“Jackson has proven over the last two years that we can deliver medical excellence along with sound business and financial performance,’’ Migoya said in the statement. “Now is the right time for our community to invest in its future, modernize the facilities and supercharge our growth for the next generation."