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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Moody County Residents Resist Private Ambulance, Prefer Public Health Service

Folks in Moody County appear to lean my way on the proper role of government in health care. Faced with a county commission proposal to privatize the county ambulance service, more than 70 citizens packed the courthouse in Flandreau to tell local government to keep its hands on their health care:

One of the first speakers was Dr. Gary Bruning, a physician at the Avera Flandreau Medical Center. Bruning is the director of the Moody County Ambulance crew.

Bruning, addressing the five commissioners as they sat in the jury box area of the courtroom, said the commission should be less concerned with the financial aspect of the ambulance.

“It should be a service and not a business,” Bruning said. “The job of governments, whether it's federal or state or local, is not to run a business but to provide a service. And what we need to do is provide a service. You know services many times not profitable. And this is one of those services that may not be profitable.”

Bruning said cutting costs on the service could end up costing the county in other ways.

“So what we have to do, in essence, is place a price on somebody's well-being and possibly their life. And that's not a real good position to put ourselves in,” he said [Ryan Woodard, "Citizens Show up in Droves to Voice Ambulance Concerns," Moody County Enterprise, 2010.11.09].

Pay attention to what Dr. Bruning is saying:
  1. The free market puts a dollar figure on human life at least as much as, if not more than, any government healthc are service.
  2. Smaller government isn't always better government.
  3. Good government is about service, not profit.
The Moody County Commission says it will not take action on its privatization plan until after three new commissioners take their seats in January.

1 comment:

  1. Corey,
    This has polarized Moody County. There is anger...blood boiling anger as the county commissioners consider privatization of the Ambulance.
    At task is the response time for such a large county with only one EMT on call. What if there is an emergency in Trent and Ward?
    Also at task is the comfort level of local EMT's, people you know and trust and care for.
    I hope my former home county commissioners make the correct choice and keep the service local.
    I fear the uprising will be beyond what the commissioners anticipate.


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