Our friends at Reason.org have called out Pennsylvania lawmakers’ opposition to prison healthcare reform, calling it yet another public sector union sacred cow. At issue is House Bill 1985, an attempt to prevent state correctional facilities from hiring private sector nursing staff.
The Department of Corrections is making an effort to efficiently spend taxpayer money. By hiring private sector nurses, the state can avoid the unsustainable defined-benefit pensions demanded by government unions. Partnering with the private sector has already proven an effective way for government to reduce overhead, eliminate waste, and improve services for every Pennsylvanian. In fact, the Department already contracts physicians and other service providers from the private sector, proving any security or quality concerns unwarranted.
Essentially, government unions and their political allies are using HB 1985 to monopolize the correctional healthcare system, no matter the impact on the state budget. If they succeed, we, the taxpayers, will be the ones getting gouged.
See our previous post for more ideas on reducing spending in the third largest department in the Pennsylvania General Fund budget: corrections.