Published October 28. 2021 01:07PM
There are two candidates for the office of Lehigh County Commissioner District 2: Democrat Mark J. Fedorov and Republican Ron W. Beitler. Attempts to reach Mark J. Fedorov were unsuccessful. Voters will choose one. There are two candidates for District 5: Democrat Joyce Moore and Republican Jeffrey Dutt. Voters will choose one.
The candidates were asked to respond to the following question in 100 words or less: Should Lehigh County have a health bureau to handle the next pandemic?
District 2: Republican Ron W. Beitler This decision needs to be data driven as opposed to political or emotional. The cost to taxpayers is estimated around $1.6 million a year. Throughout the pandemic compared to other counties with bureaus, Lehigh County fared measurably better. One example is vaccination rates. This is in large part thanks to our two world class health networks. Would a county bureau be redundant with existing services? At this time I've not heard a convincing argument on how creating another bureaucracy would serve our residents better than existing entities. We should explore partnerships with existing health bureaus and the local health networks.
District 5: Republican Jeffrey Dutt A health bureau in Lehigh County would provide our residents with a more streamlined process for testing and to provide vaccines for our residents. There also needs to be a seamless system between our county, state and federal governments to make this work efficiently. This would help eliminate shortages in tests and treatments. A health bureau can work with our local hospitals to assess needs and to provide for those needs in a timely manner.
District 5: Democrat Joyce Moore Yes! Developing a county health bureau is one of my goals. We are fortunate to have the Allentown and Bethlehem health bureaus, Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke's Hospital. All four have excelled at testing and vaccine distribution. All four should be the basis for a county-wide health bureau. There are uninsured residents, and those who lack health care who need our help. There is a task force of current Lehigh County Commissioners working on a feasibility study now. I look forward to finding out how much a health bureau would cost and how to pay for it.