I learned today at the Industry Day event talking to liberal democrat voters that in spite of the exemplary and fantastic resume of Mike Navarre, they were unaware the current administration activities with regard:
- to the transfer agreement between the Kenai Surgical Center and the Central Peninsula Hospital; and
- to the attempt to raise taxes in the amount of $2.4M without a definite plan for the use of this money.
The several people that I talked to that are/were committed liberal voters did not understand that part of the current mayor’s resume is his association with the local hospital and how influence can currently be exerted. One of these persons ask explicitly how this can be done if the hospital is owned by the community. It took a few minutes to explain what a small amount of research can turn up. Several times I had discussions with interested voters on how the failure of the hospital to work with the community in this transfer agreement did not serve the members of the community, but served the profit-driven bottom line of the hospital. It was also necessary to explain that this position of (1) the bottom line over the medical care needs of the peninsula was the position of the current administration.
It needs to be understood with regard to this transfer agreement that without this agreement the Kenai Surgical Center cannot provide services to Tricare, Medicaid or Medicare patients. Now the availability of services and the cost of those services may not be of critical interest to everyone, but these issues are of critical interest to the people who need the service (with and without insurance), and are interested in getting the best service for the amount of money spent. To these people it would of critical interest that the Central Peninsula Hospital (2) charges almost exactly twice the amount of the surgical center and this excessive charge is not necessary, not necessary at all.
The purpose of this reluctance to work with the community is unclear because as soon as more people realize how this hospital is operating, there will be less and less requirement for their services as more and more people will (3) go to Anchorage for the service they need, at a cost they can afford. How exactly does that support our community, as more and more medical care funds and associated lodging costs are transferred to Anchorage? This was another conversation that came up with cost conscious voters.
It should be stated as well, that along with the failure to work with the community on a transfer agreement with the Kenai Surgical Center, the Hospital is busy buying up various competing services here on the Peninsula; a continuing effort to (4) expand on the current monopoly we call a hospital.
The second issue found interesting to numerous voters was the effort to request voters to approve a bed tax that would generate $2.4M and not having a specific plan for the use of that much money. The voters quickly appreciated the fact that the bed tax went no where, but the mere fact that this came very close to a public vote and the plan for use of this amount of collected tax dollars was unclear right up to the end of the bed tax discussion concerned many of those voters.