Wall Street and private equity firms are out to take over New York hospitals. That would be a disaster for patients. Here's Wall Street's plan:
- Weaken Regulations. Our state's Certificate of Need process gives patients and caregivers a voice when hospitals want to cut services. These regulations also effectively prevent publicly-traded for-profit companies from operating New York hospitals. NY State’s Department of Health planning committee approved reductions to the scope of the CON review process. While the regulatory changes need to be reviewed by the state before taking effect, we need to be aware that this is a possibility—and fight it. Less limits on CON would promote a shift of well-insured patients from public hospitals to private hospitals, leaving our public hospitals with fewer resources.
- Sneak in “pilot programs” in vulnerable hospitals. In 2013, lawmakers proposed at least three different “pilot” programs to take on struggling hospitals in Brooklyn and upstate—when it is clear that the long-term goal of these companies is to open the state market to for-profit healthcare. We stopped them, but they have said they will keep pushing.
- Promote a free market panacea to our very real healthcare problems. New York State’s Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) promote the idea that healthcare reforms should utilize competitive market forces. But as healthcare professionals, we know that people don’t comparison shop when they’re sick. Often time and proximity are a patient’s primary concern. As for preventative care, with Americans, and New Yorkers, working longer hours and sometimes multiple jobs, convenience is also of the essence. Most people do not have the option of traveling long distances for cheaper healthcare.
As New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote in 2009, “There are…no examples of successful healthcare based on the principles of the free market, for one simple reason: in healthcare, the free market just doesn’t work. And people who say that the market is the answer are flying in the face of both theory and overwhelming evidence.”
Democratic Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, chairman of the Health Committee in Albany stated in March of 2013, “New York’s laws barring large business corporations from owning hospitals are important. It’s bad enough that distant stockholders control most of our health coverage. They shouldn’t also control health care delivery.”