On Friday's broadcast of Huntsville radio WVNN's "The Dale Jackson Show," State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) reacted to the Alabama Department of Public Health's (ADPH) self-imposed "accountability measures," and if those would be sufficient for the power-wielding agency to avoid action from the Alabama Legislature.
Since the onset of COVID-19 in Alabama, some elected officials have questioned the unchecked power of the ADPH and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.
According to Orr, there was a broader structural problem with those in place in Alabama's medical governance.
He called it an "oligarchy" and suggested it was primed for reform.
"What we have in Alabama with regard to the medical field is an oligarchy," Orr said. "By that, I mean the people who are in control of the state medical board of examiners, the state medical association and primarily, there are some other people who are appointed to the state board of public health, which is the board that appoints the state public health officer — all of those people are, by and large, the same. They are elected by the doctors of the state, but in an organization that my understanding is that only 40 or 50% are members of, and less than that even vote. So you have the minority of doctors putting these people in place, which ultimately puts them in charge of the state public health officer, which arguably puts them in charge of all medical decisions in the state. "
"They're not responsible, of course, to the people," he continued. "There is no elected official that is in control of this that the people have appointed to be in charge. That is something that former Senator Jim McClendon tried to bust up — that intermixed group, and he was unsuccessful. But that's where the power lies, Dale, and if you're going to bust it up, there have been bills to put the Governor in charge and let the Governor appoint the state health officer, make it a cabinet official position, and make that individual, that public health officer, be answerable to someone who was put there by the people. And then, of course, the Governor would be responsible to the people."
"All that to say this: It's a mess and ought to be cleaned up," Orr added. "It has been tried before to clean it up, and the medical establishment is able to beat it down pretty handily."
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.