Notes on the sad state of things

Notes on the sad state of things

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help,’” famously quipped Ronald Reagan.

Welcome to Pennsylvania.

It’s where the state Department of Health — in an attempt it says is to increase the number of coronavirus vaccine inoculations — is thumbing its nose at one of the commonwealth’s greatest successes in getting shots in arms.

As the Post-Gazette reported it:

“On Friday, the health department said it would cut the number of smaller doctors’ offices and pharmacies administering the shots by up to three-quarters — 200 to 300 providers from 780 currently across the state. All together, 1,710 providers have offered to give the shots, the health department said.”

Larger hospitals are to be favored, “The State” says.

But by most accounts, it has been those smaller operations that have been getting the vaccination job done. And those physicians and pharmacists, rightly proud of their dedication to their patients, are shouting “FOUL!”

As they should be. For they know those patients best.

Neighboring West Virginia is a great example of how to get the job done – relying on those smaller practices and pharmacies that Pennsylvania government now believes to be mere annoyances.

The coronavirus pandemic has been damaging enough without the government redefining dysfunctional in the vaccination process.

What is wrong with these people?

An insightful letter from a Pennsylvania ex-pat crossed our inbox over the weekend. To wit (truncated, paraphrased at some points, otherwise edited for clarity and name redacted to protect privacy):

“I read your commentary (“The wrong Rx for Pa.’s post-pandemic recovery,” Feb. 10, based on Policy Brief Vol. 21, No. 6) and could not agree more with your conclusions. …

The writer grew up in central Pennsylvania, where his parents, almost 90, still live. For the past few years, he has visited them for nearly a month each year, renting an apartment in a nearby town.

“After watching the actions of your governor handling this pandemic … I’m not sure when or if I will be back.

The writer was no fan of Gov. Tom Wolf’s willy-nilly edicts, topped by arbitrary and capricious business closures.

“My home state for the last 30 years has been Florida.  Our governor put freedom and personal responsibility at the forefront of fighting Covid and I think the results speak for themselves.

“You are correct that ‘government types don’t understand.’  They also believe that a command-and-control economy is better because they are smarter than all of us.

“They aren’t.

“It’s very sad to me what has happened in Pennsylvania over the past 30 years.  I grew up when people there were strong and independent.  They didn’t need or want government in their lives.

“Now when I return, I see a lot of shuttered manufacturing plants.  I see a lot of people who live off the government.

The writer says he thinks Florida is a model for the future of this country.  “We have a booming economy and a governor that believes in freedom. 

“I wish you luck in Pennsylvania. It’s a beautiful state with much to offer — if government would just get out of the way.”

Hear! Hear!

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (