Three recent stories in the OD:
Utica’s ambulance controversy becomes state issue
Utica fire officials urge state lawmakers on ambulance law
Proposed state law could end fight over Utica ambulance service
Changing the law to exempt municipalities from having to show a public need to run an ambulance service is a terrible idea.
First, it opens the doors in many places to government competing directly with existing private businesses in many communities. Do we really want to encourage expansion of the roll of government?
Second, since government is almost never as efficiently run as private businesses, undoubtedly the taxpayers are going to wind up paying for some of this. In the case of Utica, we have yet to see a complete accounting for what the ambulance service is costing taxpayers, particularly in the areas of overtime and increased cost to cover increased pensions generated by more overtime. Of course the fire department will support this!
Third, at least in the case of Utica according to news reports, charges to insurance companies for ambulance services have been significantly higher than what is being charged by the private ambulance service. This will result in increased health insurance rates for the region.
The proposed law is anti-business and will wind up costing taxpayers and health insurance buyers more money.