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Orange County hospital moving forward

Orange County Commissioners have received a petition calling for an election to decide on the question of establishing a hospital district in Orange County.

Ross Smith, co-owner of Sabine River Ford, submitted the petition to county officials.

The next step will be validation of the signatures by the Election Board.

If all is found to be in order, then an election will be scheduled within a 45-60 day window.

We, Orange County voters, could be voting, yea or nay, on the establishment of a hospital district in Orange County, as soon as April or May.

A hospital is essential for Orange County. Health care services available from hospitals are a necessary component of any vibrant, thriving community.

We have also learned that a voluntary ad hoc group is working through other options, which include private investors.

Both options are worthy considerations.

A hospital district will establish a publicly funded hospital, funded in part by taxpayers, which will be required to provide health care services to a wide range of patients.

Private investors determine the scope and nature of the services their facility will offer. Their success or failure will fall squarely on their ability to deliver the goods and services they make available.

For the most part, we believe private investment is the best option.

Taxpayer funded insurance programs limit the benefits available to patients who often have limited insurance coverage choices. Taxpayers cannot provide an infinite flow of benefits to these patients. Private funded insurance programs limit benefits based on market forces and the demand from investors for a return on their investment.

Reality? Resources are limited in both cases.

The free open market will allocate those resources more efficiently than any government bureaucracy.

Questions should be asked and answered.

The bottom line is, we need a hospital in Orange County.