Having spent my entire adult life building and managing a small business, I’m continually surprised by observations in my role as an elected official. Chief among these is the focus on short-term solutions to problems, rather than assessing their root causes. We simply don’t delve into the eventual repercussions of our decisions, and often rely on the hastily-proposed fix. This fundamental lack of accountability or even public discussion about the origins of whatever the latest “crisis” is has led to the special session in Tallahassee.
The typical discussion usually revolves wholly on the ways to remedy the immediate predicament with a short-term solution for political standing. More often than not that remedy entails more of your money, less of your freedom and a continuation of the original cause of the “crisis.” Worse yet, the biggest areas of concern are on jockeying for position. Those whose pre-crisis warnings fell on deaf ears are further vilified by the group that now steals camera time in righteous indignation. This group of elected opportunists rush into the breach armed with tried and tested rhetoric that echoes the public disdain, diverting attention from the many lost opportunities offered (and rejected) that could have prevented the current crisis and whatever blame they share in it. Instead, politicians use their universal solution tool; your money.
The current Florida healthcare crisis has all of the above. Those who dare stand between the public dollar and the usual remedy (your money) are verbally bludgeoned and shamed. Their solutions may solve the problem, but they won’t solve it right now! Of course, neither will the crisis “solvers” but that is rarely considered.
No amount of your money will remedy the current healthcare crisis. One need merely look at how much of your money we take annually and yet crises still develop. The solution is not at the spending side, but rather at the cost side.
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As long as hospitals continue to write their own regulations, corner markets and tangle the figures through endless price calculations, we will not truly solve the problem. Notice the omnipresent hospital advertising; the proliferation of neighborhood ERs cleverly called “urgent care centers,” which charge ER rates; the massive size of the modern “healthcare industrial complex;” the record profits and multimillion-dollar executive compensations. Much of that is represented in your insurance rates and again in your local, state and federal taxes.
Yes, many people need healthcare now, but just as important is the need to stop fleecing the public at every turn under the guise of compassion. The real and worsening public crisis is the constant and endless strain on the working taxpayers.
José R. Oliva, state representative, House District 110, Tallahassee