Opinion: Ban for-profit hospitals? Not on your life

Is it possible to make an adequate profit, produce a good product and treat your employees fairly all at the same time? Not really — at least in the field of healthcare anyway, according to nervous special interest groups lobbying the Capitol.

Is the market economy, as President Obama seems to feel, a zero-sum game? As an unaffiliated voter, I’ve long thought if it’s true that conservatives hate the idea that someone somewhere is having too much fun, then it’s equally true that progressives hate the idea that someone somewhere is making too much money.

I hope that sort of mentality isn’t at the root of the opposition to legislation that would increase state oversight of hospital conversions from nonprofit to for-profit. To wit, some consumer and labor groups want an outright ban on for-profit hospitals in Connecticut.

At the center of the debate is the nonprofit Waterbury Hospital which, according to its CEO, has lost money in 9 of its last 10 years. Waterbury has an investor-owned national suitor, Tenet Healthcare, which seeks to acquire it and three other hospitals in the state.

Contributing op-ed columnist Terry Cowgill lives in Lakeville, blogs at ctdevilsadvocate.com and is news editor of The Berkshire Record in Great Barrington, Mass. Follow him on Twitter @terrycowgill.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie



2 responses to “Opinion: Ban for-profit hospitals? Not on your life”

  1. Piberman

    Reportedly our local hospital has administrators clocking half a million in pay. Would a for profit hospital permit such excess ?

  2. Suzanne

    The hospitals that have been referenced in the linked article refer to mismanaged facilities, not facilities that are well-managed and interested in being of service to healthcare and the patient. It might be peachy to get 11 million more tax dollars onto the rolls in Hartford but, what is not mentioned, is the penny-pinching at the expense of the patient under for profit care. Look, Medicaid and Medicare are not reimbursing anyone very well. Insurance companies will fight to the death to NOT provide services. There has to be a pinch point somewhere for someone like Tenet Healthcare to take over a hospital, retire debt and make 5% to its owners and/or shareholders. I have seen the for-profit model and it does not work: healthcare, the health of you and me, should not be measured on the backs of sick people at a profit. It is throwing out the baby with the bathwater – you will have gorgeous facilities and a constant battle for the patient to get the care they need so the owner can profit. The business model has no business being in medicine.

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