Philly’s fiscal health improving, city controller says

Philadelphia’s city controller says the cost of health care is rising more quickly in Philadelphia than in the nation overall. 

In his monthly economic report, City Controller Alan Butkovitz analyzed the cost of treating certain health conditions such as congestive heart failure. While the national average grew 13 percent over three years, in Philadelphia it went up 20 percent.

Butkovitz, however, is not alarmed. He says it reflects high-quality health care people are willing to pay a premium to get.

“It’s good when we can market ourselves on the basis of quality,” he said. “You don’t want to be the cheapest in anything and people get you for pennies. You want people to be buying what you are selling because it’s the best.”

Butkovitz says he’s also optimistic about how Philadelphia’s fiscal health is moving towards recovery.

“It continues to show the economic trend is up,” he said. “If the city doesn’t trip over it’s feet we are on the verge of an economic recovery here.”

City revenues are up about 15 percent over a year ago, including a 31 percent increase in business income and receipt taxes and a 17 percent increase in real estate transfer taxes.

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