Corporate Media Ignores How Privatization of US Hospitals Explains Lack of Beds, Ventilators
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Though much attention was focused on how short of ventilators, masks, and beds the hospitals were there was almost no attention to how the city fell ino this crisis. It was as though only the virus was to blame. Over many years now Medicaid and healthcare activists have made hospital closures an intensely contested issue. In the last two decades NYC hospital beds have gone from 73,000 to 53,000. Democracy Now co-host Juan Gonzales and guest Sean Petty, an emergency room nurse in the Bronx, point to the role that a market mentality creeping into private and even many nonprofit hospitals has played in this decline. “During the years Cuomo has been in office, the number of beds available per patient in the United States in many states has declined dramatically, mostly because hospital managers see empty beds as not money-making, so they want to reduce the number of empty beds as much as possible, so they staff fewer and fewer beds.” Beds in short are subject to the same just in time principles that govern any other supply chain in the modern market economy. Applying just in time metrics to all key resources purportedly maximizes efficiency.
Efficiency, however, is a concept that deserves more critical scrutiny. Writing in the Atlantic Helen Lewis argued: “The tech sector’s overarching philosophy remains bent towards treating the human brain and body like a machine that can be tweaked and perfected until it is running at peak efficiency,” the journalist Lux Alptraum wrote for Quartz in 2017. This is, however, a fundamentally inhuman philosophy. People aren’t machines. We are inherently inefficient, with our elderly parents and sick children, our mental-health problems, our chronic diseases, and our need to sleep and eat. And, as the past few months have demonstrated, our susceptibility to novel viruses.…
Humans and the ecosystems of which they are a part are volatile and not always predictable. The decision to forego back- up systems and ample inventories is analogous to a homeowner’s choosing not to insure his/her house because a fire is unlikely and insurance premiums consume after- tax income. Fortunately most homeowners don’t or are not allowed to think that way. In the public arena, however, things are different.
Governor Cuomo has been generally supportive of the neoliberal development model that includes tax cuts for business and fiscal austerity for the public sector to fund those cuts. He shares the centrist faith in markets as perfect information processing systems and strives to remove the public from active participation in such decisions. When the state budget mandated multi billion dollar cuts in spending for hospitals he attempted to deflect attention to his role by creating a commission comprised disproportionately of health industry insiders.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
March 31, 2020 at 6:10 PM #295631Average GazooParticipant
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and here we are with for-profit healthcare which is rationing everything from tests to masks.
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