Giunchigliani rejects the Governor’s plan to privatize prison medical care before she has all the facts.
The democrats, led by chairwoman Chris Giunchigliani of the Senate-Assembly budget subcommittee handling prison matters, are lining up to reject the Governor’s plan to privatize medical care in the state prisons. Although the decision will not be made until the last of this month when state budgets are approved, it appears the democrats, who hold a 28-14 advantage in the Assembly, are prepared to reject the proposal. That’s unfortunate. No, it’s downright criminal.
What’s interesting is that Giunchigliai publicly stated she will reject the plan even before she’s had a chance to evaluate the proposals by companies bidding on the project. Two private companies have submitted plans that will offer savings to the state or more than $4.4 million over two years. It seems, that with such a substantial savings to taxpayers, the companies deserve consideration from our lawmakers. Frankly, I’m surprised and disappointed that Giunchigliai, who’s not an amateur politician, would take such a strong position before she has the facts. Shame
on you, Chris. And shame on the legislature if they don’t review the plans with an open mind and give the idea due consideration.
Governor Guinn, who is not a politician but a successful businessman, has his hands full as he strives to make our state government more efficient. He understands the value of private companies and that often they can perform services better and less expensive than government agencies. Unfortunately, Guinn’s views on privatization is not necessarily embraced by our lawmakers. Nevada currently provides dozens of services that could be handled better, and cheaper, by the private sector.
In fact, the state government often competes with private business. Take, for example, Employers Insurance Company of Nevada (formerly SIIS), a state run worker’s compensation insurance agency that directly competes with private insurance companies. The state had a monopoly on worker’s compensation until recently when the private sector was allowed to provide the service. These insurance companies, that are competing with the state, pay substantial taxes.
So what ends up happening is the insurance companies are supporting their competition. How much sense does that make? And why has the government put businesses in that position in the first place?
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not advocating that the state be void of all services. However, they should provide only those services that cannot be handled by the private sector. And, our state should never put itself in direct competition with the companies that are helping to support the government. It simply does not make sense.
On the other hand, Guinn’s idea of privatizing prison medical service makes a lot of sense. But whether or not it passes depends on whether Giunchigliani and other democrats are able to get past partisan politics and have the courage to do what’s right for Nevada.