In the #2 Debate Topic: health care, how it effects the state, and its rising costs.
Rep. Ross: Get government out of the way; that would help everything. The Government keeps adding mandates….and then Rep Ross just stood there. He could not seem to think of a single thing to say. He said, “I am bombing on this and I cannot believe it.” The moderator said he could just sit down if he didn’t know what to say and save his time for rebuttal. After standing there opening and closing his mouth for a while…Rep. Ross just sat silently down.
Smulowitz popped right up and said that “We are all in agreement that the drivers of costs are that some hospitals charge twice as much for the same procedure based on market power. Government needs more regulatory power to prevent such abuses based on market share, there must be more accountability and transparency. Also, we don’t place enough value on primary care, medical home models, and integrated care models that cut costs by as much as 30%.” Smulowitz also demanded malpractice reform to eliminate costly “defensive medicine.” He said the focus should be on patient safety. Cutting the cost of health care helps business and individuals, per Smulowitz. Smulowitz gets it – health insurance is NOT the same as health care.
Ross responded by saying he is an “independent voice.” That because Smulowitz is a Democrat he would be unable to be independent
Topic #3: Raising Revenue through casinos and slot machines
Smulowitz spoke first on this topic. He said raising revenue and casinos and slot machines are two different topics and he was going to address them separately. Smulowitz said that the way to build the economy is by supporting and growing small business, as well as new industries and rebuilding the manufacturing sector. Further, transparency and tracking how the states money is spent is critical.
Transparency is needed. The “go along to get along” culture of Beacon Hill eliminates tracking and transparency.
There is no independent cost benefit analysis on Casinos and slots. Smulowitz says without such an independent analysis he cannot make an informed decision, for example as to whether Casinos would add more jobs then Casinos would destroy by putting local business out of business. Further, those states that put in casinos to solve their revenue woes all failed to solve their revenue needs. Smulowitz stated that Casinos and slots have not worked in other states. He stated that there must be good data before making decisions.
Ross replied that there have been “10 billion in cuts”. He stated raising taxes does not provide revenue.
Ross again stated that as one of 180 Smulowitz would be powerless while as one of only 16, Ross would be free and independent.
Ross stated that if Peter Smulowitz is elected, he would either have to march to leadership, or be helplessly sidelined (I seem, however, to remember Edward Markey’s ringing statement, “You can tell me where to sit but you cannot tell me how to vote”)
Ross next attacked Obamacare as just another source of regulation.
My vote: Smulowitz won this debate.
I drove an hour each way; it was well worth it. Smulowitz exceeded my expectations. Disclosure: I oppose slots and casinos as a boondogle, business killers, and not a source of reliable revenue.