Thursday, December 1, 2011

Privatization Pushback

Proposals to privatize health care and mental health care for prisoners have begun to meet resistance in both North Carolina and Pennsylvania.  Let's start with the NC situation, which really scares the crap out of me.

First is a quick read; a great little editorial discussing the drawbacks of privatization and how private vendors often fail to live up to the public's expectations.  According to the author, "the logic in privatizing the services falls short... Anticipated savings might be difficult to come by... state oversight would have to be not just maintained but intensified," and the lack of competing bids calls the wisdom of the plan into question.

The community has started to pay attention as well.  A town hall meeting was convened earlier this week at a church, where many residents expressed concerns about personal and public safety if the GEO Group starts providing mental healthcare for serious criminals.

Then there's Pennsylvania, where Governor Tom Corbett wants to privatize liquor sales and has tossed around the idea of privatizing healthcare for state prisoners.  Thankfully, that foolish plan has already met with opposition both from the general public, as nurses picketed in protest of the plan, and from local politicians.  State Senator David Argall contends that the plan presents a serious risk to public safety, as would any plan in which instruments designed to promote public safety are turned over to the lowest bidder among companies with long histories of abuse and negligence.

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