Explain what you believe to be the fundamental role of government.
The fundamental role of government is to represent the interest of the people without jeopardizing their individual rights.
We were founded as a republic and are referred to as a democracy. We are not one or the other, we are both. For those unfamiliar, in a democracy the majority or the current elected body rules, within a Republic an individual’s rights are protected from the majority.
I stand by the principles in which our country was founded.
Explain what you believe to be the essential role of the hospital board.
It should provide affordable and accessible healthcare to Sarasota County citizens. It was founded by the people and is for the people. The board should reflect that integrity with its actions to protect the people of Sarasota.
When you are legislating and creating policies, which of the following would take precedence over the other: the individual or the collective “common good”? Why?
In short, I would say the collective. SMH is a public hospital, and the majority is who we serve.
That being said, I’m a strong believer of no man left behind. So if proposed legislation clearly alienates or hurts a specific population, my vote will be no.
Why are you running for office?
The status quo of our healthcare system is broken.
There are people in our nation who are working hard to change this, myself included.
The insurance industry and AMA have aggressively lobbied to pass policies that increase the cost of healthcare. In addition, Federal Healthcare Cost Transparency was passed and put into effect in 2020. Cost transparency provides a free market in healthcare and eliminates abusive billing that occurs every day in the current system.
SMH is not compliant with the federal legislation and will be fined as a result, according to the website, Patients Rights Advocate (See PatientRightsAdvocate.org).
If Lakewood Ranch Medical Center can be compliant, so should Sarasota Memorial Hospital. It is important we follow the law.
With transparency, a free market in healthcare is created. People should know the cost of care upfront before they are billed into bankruptcy.
I also want to give back to the business that drives the economy in Sarasota by developing a direct contracting program between SMH and businesses.
This would help reduce the cost of treatment and ultimately will reduce monthly health insurance premiums. As claims go down so do renewals and premiums.
What issues or concerns would you advocate that the hospital board and SMH Healthcare management set as top priorities? Why?
In addition to the above, I would like dial back expansion until we have a solid understanding of the economic direction our country is going.
If we enter into a recession, there could be real trouble. It would be a shame to either raise taxes or sell assets because we were not prepared for economic stagnation.
What needs to change at SMH Healthcare?
In addition to the points listed above, we need to create an incentive program for our nurses that encourages them to stay beyond their initial four-year contract.
The military has a strong incentive program that’s proven successful. I would suggest we model that program to retain nurses, rather than lose talent. Every time we lose a nurse, we lose experience, skill and funds.
I have also interviewed about three dozen SMH medical staff members, and the most common complaint was bullying tactics by management.
If that’s true, we have leadership issues that need addressing.
Our nurses and hospital staff risk their lives and their families’ lives to treat others. We especially saw this during COVID. We should honor our nurses like we honor our soldiers and not treat them like a disposable asset.
What distinguishes you from your opponent that makes you a better candidate?
In short, industry shifting best practices. The other candidates have not once attended any healthcare innovation summits, which is where I met and learned from industry leaders who’ve successfully tackled the same issues in their community.
I didn’t invent this wheel, I simply want to roll the wheel to Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
My background includes 10-plus years in healthcare innovation, consulting and analytics. I’ve seen the horrific claims and listened to people’s stories. This battle has become personal. My competition does not have the resources or connections that I do to bring my programs together.
What experience do you have that would convince voters you would be a good steward and monitor of taxpayer dollars?
I believe I have answered this in the questions listed above. I will do everything in my power to keep taxes from rising. I am conservative in my spending, especially after losing my first business to COVID.
Thus, if the numbers and our current economic status doesn’t make sense, I will proceed toward the most precautionary and fiscally responsible route. It’s the people’s money that funds this organization, and they deserve sustainable policy.
If elected, what will be your guiding principles to determine whether to vote for or against legislation or policies?
In our world, people think in terms of what’s legal. People forget if what they are doing is right, when really just because it is legal doesn’t make it right. I was raised to do the right thing despite external pressure, and I will continue to follow that path.
In general, what role should the government play in the economy?
The government’s role is to balance its budget, yet we haven’t had a balanced budget since 2001.
As long as the government keeps excessively spending, taxes will never decrease.
Should government subsidize the manufacture of electric cars and/or give tax credits to consumers for buying electric cars? Why? Why not?
If we’re going to discuss alternative energy, we need to look at hydro-electric solutions. London is almost completely powered through hydro-electricity. There is no reason we can’t capture tidal energy. Once that is done, we can talk about subsidizing electric vehicles. Realistically though, as long as we’re powering electric vehicles with electricity generated by coal we are only providing an illusion of progress.
What is your philosophy for taxation? Graduated income tax? Flat income tax? No income tax? Consumption tax? Property tax?
If our founding fathers saw the amount we are taxed, there would be a revolution. Federal income tax was meant to be temporary.
I read the federal budget. It can be balanced.
A right does not impose an obligation on others. Free speech is a right. There is no right to having a car. In that vein, is healthcare a right?
I don’t believe healthcare is a right. As a Christian, I never once heard of Jesus charging someone to be healed. We don’t turn people away from the ER if they are in need, that is already law. Making healthcare a right is a slippery slope and would wipe out multiple industries.
If you were king, queen or a tyrannical despot in charge of the country, how, if at all, would you amend the U.S. Constitution? Why?
This question irritates me because we have a pseudo oligarchy problem in the U.S. today. But if we all think, work and act like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, we would be discussing what to add to the constitution, not what to take away.