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Countdown to Election Day

As early voting ends today (Friday), the Hidalgo County Elections Department anticipates up to 100,000 people to turn out on election day, Nov. 8. So, vote early and save a long wait in lines on election day. If you do wait to vote on election day, go early in the morning, as the lines are apt to grow longer as the day goes on.


There are a few points I have not addressed regarding Prop 1, the proposition that would create a new healthcare taxing district in Hidalgo County.  So I thought in this final column before election day I would highlight some of the main reasons why I am voting “no.”


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I would be much more amenable to a proposal to provide more funding for indigent healthcare if the legislation was drafted for the right reason and not for the benefit of the hospitals and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR) investors.


Side note: In reviewing the donor list of the businesses and individuals who have donated to the Border Health PAC, there are a great number doctors who work at DHR and own stock in DHR who on the donors list. Border Health PAC is really pushing this healthcare district down our throats, donating many thousands of dollars to our elected officials to win their favor – including our County Judge Ramon Garcia and the county commissioners. Sen. Chuy Hinojosa has received over $675,000 from this one PAC.


The fact is, the reason Chuy and Bobby filed new legislation to create the healthcare district almost immediately after the proposal was voted down two years ago was for the benefit of the hospitals, not the indigents.


That said, indigent care and increased funding for the county clinics that provide primary care can be achieved without a healthcare district that is governed by a non-elected board of directors who will be greatly influenced by the hospitals and the rich and powerful people behind Prop 1.


This is taxation without representation. Sound familiar?


We need accountability.  That comes through having elected positions for those charged with oversight of tax funds.


As further evidence that the proposed healthcare district is primarily for the benefit of the hospitals and doctors who will benefit as more funds are made available to spend on medical care, there has been no planning to determine what is needed for indigent care. If indigent care were the primary concern, one would expect a responsible commissioners’ court to perform a needs analysis first before proposing a tax. Governing bodies do not just ask for a tax increase without detailing how those taxes are going to be spent.


If we are going to put more money into indigent care, let’s do it right. Let’s get together, do a needs analysis and carefully plan how taxpayers’ money can best be utilized for the maximum benefit. Right now, no one knows.


And let’s come up with a way to keep the burden of providing healthcare for Reynosa off the backs of county taxpayers.

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