The Statist’s Tool of Choice

Dennis Linthicum

The Statist’s Tool of Choice

Recently, allegations of a diabolical scheme were exposed regarding Oregon Health Authority (OHA) attempted a smear campaign against one of the state’s 16 health care providers.

The allegation is that an attack was engineered against a Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) named FamilyCare Health. Apparently, OHA sought to exploit HIV patients that FamilyCare Health served to aid in the takedown of this non-profit organization.

If these allegations are true, first, it is unconscionable that OHA would systematically target HIV patients to help them with their dirty deed. Second, it is an atrocious violation of OHA’s public trust and responsibility which is to use their resources to diligently provide health and healing to Oregonians. Lastly, OHA abused taxpayer dollars to create their smear campaign against a valid, fully functional and diligent provider who focused on serving Oregon’s most vulnerable.

After the story leaked out, mass outrage ensued from both Democrats and Republicans. Surprisingly, the media erupted with anger, and Democrat Lynne Saxton, OHA’s director was removed from office. Saxton has consistently come under fire for perpetual failure and abuse while at OHA.

When asked for records requests, the Brown administration intentionally blacked out 26 entire pages of emails involving OHA's FamilyCare takedown scheme. It was apparently, a strategic plan developed to attack the CCO health care provider for the sole purpose of growing government.

Well, I guess this tells a us a lot about transparency in this Democrat Party-filled Administration.

Who is next?

My friend and colleague, Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) said, “It is chilling how much unchecked power exists within certain powerful agencies in our state government. When a few people in charge don't like a person, or a business, or a non-profit, they can use the might of the 800-pound government gorilla to pound them down and ride roughshod over them.

OHA’s malicious plan highlights the decay of Oregon’s governing fabric. Having long jettisoned its constitutional boundaries, political power is more willing to overreach. Agencies are constantly seeking more control, more growth, and more bureaucrats armed with more stringent regulations. This of course, also leads to their resounding cries for more and more tax dollars.

Oregonians deserve to know why the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) maliciously targeted this private entity and abused taxpayer dollars while seeking to grow OHA’s portion of the service industry pie.

The story is, OHA’s injurious public relations (PR) plan was designed, first, to discredit and defame the health care provider in the eyes of the public, second, to leak juicy tidbits to “mainstream” media, and third, to manipulate lawmakers into killing legislation backed by FamilyCare Health.

The legislation in question sought to clarify rate-setting transparency so that CCO’s and service providers would better understand the process for health care reimbursements.

It should be noted that these allegations come on top of nearly $200 million in wasted Medicaid funding applied unlawfully to 37,000 individuals. It appears, agency officials are more interested in wielding their power to protect their monopoly, redistribute taxpayer money, and pursue falsely perceived enemies.

This is monopoly power in full “pin-ball tilt.”

Yet, the FamilyCare matter is not the first, nor will it be the last of these vicious and unprecedented examples of government over-reach and abuses of power.

Just last April, a Linn County Circuit Court judge blocked OHA, DEQ, and Oregon OSHA from implementing a similar PR scheme. In that instance, OHA sought to discredit and defame Entek International, a Lebanon based manufacturer, because Entek - though it was following all existing environmental standards - may have been emitting at levels that could exceed DEQ proposed standards. In other words, they were exercising regulatory punishment for violations of rules that didn’t yet exist. Coincidentally, Entek was strongly opposed to Measure 97, the gross receipts tax which was aggressively pursued by Democrat legislators and unions who are the largest beneficiaries of Oregon’s runaway spending.

What can we learn...

People often make the mistake of imagining that government workers are more altruistic or better than the rest of us. This is, quite obviously, not true. Character counts and the unscrupulous will be unscrupulous whether they work for private industry or government.

In government, as in business, your home, school or office environment there are always those energetic passions and untamed desires that exceed their limits. Thus any organization or social body without checks, balances and oversight will eventually squander itself to corruption.

Rather than voluntary participation in free and open markets, the statist’s tool of choice is control through political power. Political power is monopoly power. It is the power to write the rules, enforce those rules, and demand compliance. Why would a person walk a block down the street and shop at another bakery, flower shop, or photography studio when they could use political power to force a specific business to service their every want and desire?

Oregonians deserve a state government that is efficient, effective, and accountable; not one that wastes taxpayer dollars and uses its regulatory power to punish competitors or its perceived political enemies.

Taxpayers know their pockets have been picked and they know who picked it. This knowledge will be the coming tidal wave of change which will wash the current administration’s abject wastefulness and baleful regulations overboard and out with the flowing tide.

Remember, If we don’t stand for rural Oregon values and common sense - No one Will

Best Regards,

Senator Dennis Linthicum signature

Dennis Linthicum
Oregon State Senate 28

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1728
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, S-305, Salem, Oregon 97301