News Section: Local Government
Review of Health Care Workshops Falls Flat
BRADENTON -- The over-labored, overstated, failed-by-61 percent bid to resolve indigent health care in Manatee County, fell from grace once again at Tuesday's BOCC Meeting. It was the last meeting before the board would take its 6-week summer recess and possibly the last chance to convince county residents to step up to the plate.
Manatee County Community Services Director Brenda Rogers delivered a Healthcare Work Session Summary follow-up from the May 28, 2014 and June 3, 2014 work sessions that were designed to resurrect the soon to be empty indigent health care fund.
To most of those who attended Tuesday's meeting, it was yet another attempt to convince Manatee County residents of the severity of the problem, and that something needed to be done about it sooner rather than later.
Last summer, County Administrator Ed Hunzeker managed to swing a special election that carted a half-cent indigent care sales tax before voters in a referendum. The effort failed miserably by nearly 2-1.
As the hospitals who benefit from the status quo push for a tax, Hunzeker, and some commissioners, have vowed to push on with other attempts, but Tuesday was not the day.
One resident after another restated what the referendum had already told the board. Citizens don't want the tax.
"The voters responded with a very simple and clear message: No! The people voted 61 percent against your proposal." said Rodger Dowdell.
There were many more harsh, and kinder ways of saying it, but most of those that went before the commission echoed the same message.
At first, commissioners tried to sell the crowd on the idea of a summit -- a meeting of the minds, with citizens and professionals looking for more dough -- but the audience wasn't buying it.
After almost three hours of the same ole, same ole, Commissioner DiSabatino suggested the commission not take any action and wait until the idea of what is really needed is better understood.
At first, the commissioners wanting to lock into the idea of a summit bucked at the idea of no action at all, until it became obvious, that it was the only logical action to take given the opposition in attendance.
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