Tampa City Council candidate Jason Wilson has issues with recent council vote on health clinics

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Wilson also has strong views on a health care issue that the Tampa City Council weighed in on in October. That's when the board approved a plan for the city to spend tens of millions of dollars to set up medical clinics for thousands of city employees and their families, an initiative that Mayor Pam Iorio pressured the council to approve just a week after they initially rejected it.  Administration officials said the deal will reduce the city's spiraling health care costs (Mary Mulhern and Yolie Capin voted against it both times).

The deal approved by the council calls for a three-year, $7.6 million contract with CareATC, a health care facility operator based in Oklahoma, but Wilson says there are health care professionals here who could have done the job, and possibly at a better price for the city.

"I'm not sure those are the best idea in the world," Wilson said.  He says he believe such clinics actually waste a lot of money.  "We missed an opportunity to engage physicians and engage health care workers and make more jobs in Tampa."

Wilson says there's a network of health care professionals who gladly would have worked with the city to cover those patients, and believes that's where local government can actually work to help out the local economy. "We can't  make up jobs, we can't make things up out of thin air, but we can look for opportunities like that to help other people out and benefit our city."

Wilson says he doesn't have any background in finance, but he did seize on that when he reviewed the city's budget.  "That means there are other things in there, too.  And we're going to through that budget like that, and we're going to learn how to spend efficiently."

Wilson is running against Seth Nelson, Michael Ciftci and Yolie Capin.

Monday night can sometimes be a slow night, but not last night, as Tampa City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern and candidates Carrie West and Jason Wilson all held their first major fundraisers for their 2011 candidacies.  We'll write more on Mulhern and West later in the week, but we engaged Wilson, an emergency room doctor at Tampa General Hospital, about health care issues, what with a Federal Judge in Virginia (a George W. Bush appointee) calling the requirement in the law that mandates that everyone must buy insurance to be unconstitutional.

The 32-year-old emergency room physician at Tampa General, who says two local public officials he respects most are Pat Frank and Ed Homan, said he's not really ideological, and that's why he was completely turned off when he went with a group of doctors to meet up with Attorney General Bill McCollum in Tallahassee earlier this year, right after the health care bill passed.

McCollum declared emphatically that he was going to sue the federal government. "I thought it was the most polarizing, revolting type of speech I ever heard.  Whether you are for the reform or not for the reform, I was appalled at that kind of speech."  Like many legal analysts, Wilson said he's sure that the case will ultimately end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

He said he certainly doesn't consider the bill extreme at all, saying "there's not anything revolutionary in there."  He mentioned several provisions he liked, and some he wasn't so enthusiastic about, such as when it comes to taking money out of Medicare that could directly affect hospitals and physicians.  "They're already scared of the federal government,," he said of some doctors recalcitrance about the bill, "and engaging physicians is like engaging cats."

"My only issue with this bill is that it doesn't give us more access to health care, but is more about health insurance," he added.

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