Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Opinion Column From Sunday's Times Herald

More on C-BIZ and the insurance debacle:

County needs a major makeover to change image
Sunday, January 17, 2010

By The Times Herald

There are comparisons to be made with the county’s ham-handed attempt to communicate the need for employees to start contributing to their health care costs and the U.S. government’s ham-handed attempt to overhaul health care across America.

We firmly believe the county could have communicated more clearly with employees and made the transition for them much more palatable, just as our federal government could be doing now with a piece of legislation that could end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars, depending on who you listen to.

Unfortunately, the comparisons don’t end there.

There is something eerily similar to Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska getting $300 million in entitlements in exchange for voting for the health care bill and county commissioner Chairman Jim Matthews being on the receiving end of campaign contributions from the county’s health care consultant, CBIZ.

Of course, we could easily clear up the misconception on the county side if documents outlining the consultant’s contract with the county and the requests for proposals the consultant sent out to get the best price on a health care management firm were turned over to The Times Herald as we have requested in a Freedom Of Information Act request we filed with the county.

The misconception on the federal side, however, probably cannot be cleared up since it has become painfully obvious that several U.S. senators were convinced to vote on the bill based on what, or should we say, how much, federal funding would be sent to their home state.

Transparency in federal government is much harder to attain than on the local level, even though President Obama all but declared it would happen if he were elected.

Of course, he also promised he would end the practice of rewarding congressmen and congresswomen for their votes, otherwise known as pork, but we must remember both of those promises were made on the campaign trail.

Locally, we should demand transparency.

Perhaps then the comparisons would begin to fade.

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