Manatee commissioners balk at health care summit

skennedy@bradenton.comJune 17, 2014 

MANATEE -- The Manatee County Commission on Tuesday decided against organizing a formal health care summit in August.

The board, attempting to find a way to finance health care for the poor once money runs out of a designated fund next year, disagreed about the value of such a summit.

The summit was proposed by Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, who hoped a meeting led by an independent moderator could work with local health care organizations to come up with a solution.

"We need to figure out where we're going," she said.

Commissioner Betsy Benac said she understood voters last summer defeated a half-cent sales tax increase for health care because they don't want local government to pay anymore.

But she added: "I cannot believe this community is not going to do anything on this issue .... does that really mean we're not going to do anything?"

Commissioner Michael Gallen said, "I'm not sure yet if we have all the tools to put together the summit."

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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