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Answering Al

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The daily interviewed former Sacred Heart hospital executive Al Hampton who is opposed to the half-cent sales tax for primary health care in Opponent says tax would be a burden.

Let’s look at some of Al’s answers:

Also, a sales tax is actually going to hurt the group this is trying to help. You’re basically taxing the folks who can least afford it.” RO: Most basics like groceries are tax exempt. The average person will pay $1 a week. What is more hurtful – to suffer in pain or pay a $1?

“There are so many individuals, particularly women and children, who don’t know they’re eligible for benefits. There are programs out there.” RO: I’m not sure if Al is aware (since he retired 8 years ago) that Sacred Heart and Baptist work hard to get the uninsured signed for every possible program. It’s to the hospital’s and the individual’s benefit to do so. There are still 66,000 that fall in in the gap.

“To me, part of the problem with this whole thing of indigent care is actually the billing process and charging process.” RO: The problem isn’t billing. It’s trying to take care of too many people in the ER’s. It’s people suffering and dying because their symptons aren’t treated early enough.

It’s more of a state or national issue.” RO: Passing the buck doesn’t solve the problem. Over the past six years, while waiting for the state or federal governments to do something, the health outcomes in this county worsen. More infants died. More adults died from heart attacks and strokes.

Sadly not once did Al mention the suffering of the people without medical insurance. In fact, few opponents to the proposal ever do. They want this to be argued on philosophical levels and keep the uninsured faceless. Unless it’s their baby dying or neonatal intensive care unit or its their foot or leg being cut-off due to diabetes, they don’t want to talk about it.

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