Senator Maroney Visits Tyler County
MIDDLEBOURNE — State Senator Mike Maroney, R-2nd District, paid a visit to Tyler County to talk with constituents about county and state level topics that affect our county. The senator will officially be sworn into office today.
During the Jan. 5 meeting, Maroney said he will occupy a chair on seven different committees, including Health and Human Resources, Economic Development Committee, Finance Committee, Government Organization Committee, Interstate Cooperation, and Transportation and Infrastructure.
“It’s important to be on these committees and to do this stuff because that is the only way your going to be able to represent your area” Maroney said. He added that he is excited to have three medical doctors in the Legislature which has never happened before.
Maroney emphasized the point that his role as senator is not a stepping stone in his career.
“It depends on how your measure your own life or what your own goals are. If you strictly measure your success by financial gain, then it’s a step back. If you measure your success in life by the good that you do for others in the community, then it’s a step forward. With everything falling into place, maybe it’s best to describe it as a side-step for me in my life.” he said. “The older I get, the less the money and time off matter. The more what you’re doing to help others in the community matters.”
Maroney admitted that he is a little nervous and not quite sure what to expect as a senator, but he will have access to a database of information which he will study over in order to help make West Virginia a better state.
“Tyler County has been good to me, and it has a lot of potential,” he said. “It’s certainly not operating at its maximum potential currently.”
Maroney said he is not a fan of Obamacare and feels that it is catastrophic. He said he feels deductibles, associated with Obamacare, are too high.
“I think the concept of more people getting insurance is great, but who’s going to pay for it and how are they going to pay for it?” He continued to say that he feels it is more of a federal issue than a state issue, however, it is an issue that affects state revenue.
The Senator also mentioned that he is not entirely sure how it will affect rural hospitals, but it is a big concern because rural hospitals are what provides health care to West Virginians.
“We are a community and region of small hospitals.” Maroney said
Relatedly, Maroney said he understands the importance of Sistersville General Hospital staying open. WVU Medicine and Wheeling Hospital are both interested in the purchase of Sistersville Hospital. WVU Medicine wants to turn the hospital into a free-standing emergency room, but there is no legislation set up in the state of West Virginia for that right now. It would be different from an Urgent Care in that you can take ambulances, and heart attack or stroke victims, there for emergencies. From there, the patient could be an in-patient at a local hospital after treatment. Senator Maroney was very intrigued in the notion of a free-standing ER and feels that it could be very beneficial to the community community. It was noted that WVU Medicine has plans to go to the state to propose a legislature allowing free-standing ERs throughout the state.
“Having an ER with capabilities for heart and stroke patients, you know 15 minutes makes a huge difference; it could be a game changer,” Maroney said. “I can’t see where there would be any downfall to that; in fact, I would sponsor a free-standing ER.”
Maroney was so excited over the point that he said he will make it one of his main priorities going forward.
“I can see in West Virginia, these rural areas, having a main hospital with free standing ERs… that sounds like a decent model for a a state with our geography.”
Maroney also spoke on the topic of lack of cellular service in the area and how that in itself can be a health risk. For instance, if an individual is out of cellular phone service and landlines are down, and an emergency would arise, there would be no way to contact emergency services. He said cell providers are afraid that they will not make enough money or that they already have enough customers.
“This needs to change, and I’m pretty certain that’s on me” he declared.
Another topic brought before Senator Maroney was the high rates of flood insurance all along the Ohio River. Many feel that the high interest rates are a deterrent for businesses wanting to move into the area. Maroney said that this problem is due to over-correction, which he feels happens too often, yet the banks continue to require flood insurance. Part of the problem is that the flood zones have changed, yet the maps have not been corrected accordingly.
Maroney said his visit with Tyler County had been his most productive day since his campaign and that he truly loves the area.
” It’s only a matter of time before we see how the changes fall into place,” he said.