Voters said yes Tuesday to keeping the North Lake Hospital District tax, which helps pay for health care of the poor and uninsured.

With all 80 precincts counted, the vote was 57,574 to 40,459, or 59 percent for extending the tax for another 10 years, according to the Lake Supervisor of Elections website.

State Rep. Larry Metz, the Republican whose district includes most of Lake County, passed legislation calling for the referendum in 2012.

“I voted no, personally,” he said of Tuesday’s referendum.

“The district (originally two separate districts), goes back about 60 years when Lake County was more rural and less populated. Times change,” he said.

Leesburg Regional Medical Center and Florida Hospital Waterman can now rely on funding from Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare. There is no reason to tax property owners to subsidize profitable, tax-exempt hospitals, he said.

Marinda Hickman, who cast her ballot in Leesburg, agreed. “There’s enough money out there to take care of this.”

Those in favor of the measure, however, noted that the district funds clinics like the Medical Center on the campus of First Baptist Church of Leesburg, and provides $1 million per year for LifeStream Behavioral Services.

These are the kinds of services that keep people from flooding expensive hospital emergency rooms, proponents say.

The tax is set at $1 per $1,000 taxable value.

“I’m for it, said Stephen Wolgamott, who ran for Leesburg City Commission. “It’s not that much money, about $10 a month for the average taxpayer.”

Money from the tax helped Florida Hospital Waterman move from downtown Eustis to its modern facility just outside Tavares, he pointed out.

Profits are reinvested in new technology, training and expanded services, hospital officials say.

“It’s not just the hospital, but clinics and care for the community. It impacts everything,” said David Ottati, CEO and president of Florida Hospital Waterman. He said the non-profit hospital pours money back into the community.

So many poor people need help, he said. “The community wants help for everyone.”

“It’s great,” he said of the overwhelming support for the district in the election.