Competition serves citizens

Published 5:41 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

We live in a rural area, the type of place where outsiders might wonder where we get groceries.

For my family, sometimes we go to the Food Lion in Windsor because it’s the closest. Sometimes Kroger has better sales. Then, when Aldi moved to Suffolk, we shopped there because it was cheaper. Walmart has recently made grocery pickup even more convenient, so that’s our new option. All of the competition for our business has greatly benefited my family by giving us more options to save money or time.

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If the Virginia Department of Health were in charge of grocery stores, they likely wouldn’t have issued a certificate of public need to any store other than one in Norfolk, since our other options certainly “duplicate existing services,” to use VDH’s words. And how much better off is my family, and our community, that we have options for getting food!

Regrettably, VDH seems to be making such a mistake with the proposed Riverside Hospital in Smithfield, and for the same ignorant reasoning. How many times have they driven from here to Norfolk? Those 41 miles take me an hour at best to get across the bridges, pay the toll and avoid traffic; Smithfield is an easy 15 minutes away.

Who benefits from having fewer options and less competition in health care? Certainly not us residents.

Furthermore, VDH and its public health collaborators have robbed us regular citizens of relationships, jobs and human decency for nearly two years, all in the name of helping keep hospitals from being overwhelmed; then they turn around and stop a new hospital from being built. What kind of backward logic is this?

Could VDH please stop harming us and simply get out of the way?


Peter Acker