Friday, April 27, 2007

Poll results: voters want a second hospital

The results of the poll are hard to ignore and harder to spin. Of the 148 people who answered my question "Do you support a second hospital in Grand Forks?", more than 70% said yes.

Yes 71%105
No 24%35
Unsure 5%8
148 votes total

So, given this poll and others like it and given the comments we've been hearing from so many within our community, does it worry the members of the city council who recently turned down a request from the Aurora people for a tax abatement on their proposed new hospital? Healthcare is something that the public has very strong opinions about. I wonder, does it worry these city council members to think of the fact that some people within the community will now see these men as having denied those who elected them a choice in medical care? It would worry me if I was on the council and wanted to stay there. Again, people have very strong opinions in regards to medical care.

I've been fairly quiet on the whole Aurora Hospital debate. I never felt that I had enough information to take an hardline stance on something as critical as this. I'm still not quite sure what my thoughts are on this matter. However, I think I'm leaning towards a pro-Aurora position. Right now, I'm a little concerned that the city council has 1) temporarily delayed the chances of a second health care option within the city and 2) temporarily delayed the potential for economic growth and job creation. I use the word "temporarily" because I ultimately think that this blow from the city council isn't going to drastically change Aurora's plans. In my opinion, I think we can be relatively assured that there will be a new hospital on the Aurora campus in a couple of years.

It's really a very interesting turn of events. Clearly, a major segment of the community wants to see Aurora Hospital built, but the city council went against the wishes of so many within the community and, at least temporarily, delayed these plans. In a way, I have to give some credit to the council members who voted down this tax abatement. They aparrently weighed the options and decided to vote against this proposal even though, by doing this, many people within the community will be critical of them. It's interesting to see elected officials not always taking the easy, popular option.

Still, I wonder if they have made the best choice. What do you think?


Tu-Uyen said...

GFG: Just because people want it doesn't mean the council should subsidize it. If you ask people if they'd like to see more shopping outlets or more variety in restaurants, they'd probably say "yes." More is usually better than less, except when it comes to government involvement in the private sector.

GrandForksGuy said...

That may all be true, Tu-Uyen. Still, I have to think that there are going to be citizens out there who now see their council person as having denied them more choices in medical care. There have to be plenty of people out there who wouldn't want to see the council give abatements to restaurants or stores, but would have liked to have seen the council give an abatement to a new hospital. I'm not sure we can compare a second hospital with a new store or restaurant.

Anonymous said...

Umm...the poll is not a scientific one; it's merely anecdotal. You're not the Gallup Organizaiton.

Anonymous said...

Choice is almost always seen as a good thing. And usually it is. But in healthcare, when you already have many empty hospital beds in GF and outlying areas, it just doesn't make sense for the city to subsidize an additional 70 beds. Due to advances in medicine, fewer people need inpatient care so a new hospital will simply mean more empty beds. People already have more choices than ever with Aurora Clinic, Meritcare, Riverview, etc. But a new hospital is unnecesary.

Good Ol' Boy said...

Actually, Altru has many days when they are full, so you could make some argument for expantion of some sort, whether within Altru or a second hospial. But to say you will have more or better choices in health care.... well, maybe not. If you don't like your doctor at Altru, there are others there to choose from. If you think there will be a SUBSTANTIAL difference in quality of care from one hospital to another, good luck. That is determined more by YOUR insurance than whose building you happen to be in.
Others have done a better job of making the point that more choice does not necessarily lead to better or less expensive health care, so I won't bother to.
The lack of knowledge the average person has regarding how health care works in this country is appaling, and because of that I would say most people's opinions aren't worth much. (But that's just my opinion!) Suffice it to say we in this country still have it better than most.