The real wonder of SB #2407's (removes exemptions for Open Meetings Act for public hospitals) saga is not that it was castrated in the House Public Health Committee last week but that the bill even passed the Senate in the first place. The Sun-Herald turned its bulldogs loose on the Mississippi Hospital Association and reported MHA dropped over a quarter of a million dollars on legislators:
The Mississippi Hospital Association, through its Political Action Committee, was able to ante up more than a quarter-million dollars in the last Mississippi legislative election. That vote flipped the House from the Democrats to the Republicans and gave rise to the House committee that last week gutted a bill aimed at allowing more scrutiny of public hospitals.
Sixty-three House members received anywhere from $250 to $7,500 in that election cycle, according to the MHA PAC annual report filed with the Secretary of State's Office in early 2012. The total could be higher, though, because Mississippi's lax campaign-finance reporting laws make it difficult to track all spending. The Center for Public Integrity gave the state a D grade on its campaign-finance disclosure system when it rated all the states recently.
Eleven members of the Public Health and Human Services Committee, which last week voted to limit the public hospital bill to just the Singing River Health System in Jackson County, between them received $22,500 from the PAC. MHA
opposes the bill, saying hospitals need exemptions from the Open Meetings Act "because public hospitals work much differently from other public entities in the state as they operate in a competitive business environment," MHA President and CEO Tim Moore said. "Hospitals are already providing financial information that is available to the public, and the costs to hire attorneys and personnel to handle the notices, website updates, emergency procedures, and liability concerns would be devastating financially."..... Rest of the article. There is more, much more information in the story.
As I wrote last week:
Make no mistake. Mr. Moore is lying through his teeth. What his associations wants is the right to have it both ways. He wants to be able to take your money for your hospitals but tell you to shut the hell up when it comes to knowing what they do with your money. The Senate bill protects patients rights and financial information that should remain confidential. However, these legitimate and serious compromises are not enough for our pampered prince over on Woodgreen Drive. Mr. Moore spits in the faces of the taxpayers who OWN these hospitals and then tries to make like he is doing a favor. It gives a new meaning to the term "golden shower".