We Know the Real Cause of the Crisis in Our Hospitals.

It’s greed. That’s the headline of this powerful six and a half minute long New York Times documentary. I concede, given the Gray Lady’s size and stature, it’s important to read and/or view her with a certain skepticism, but as this short video illustrates, the “paper of record” continues to produce a lot of outstanding journalism.  

When it comes to the New York Times, I am in the habit of reading the top “reader picks” comments. At present, this video has generated 1,562 comments. Here’s a portion of the top rated one, from someone living outside the (dis)United States:

“Hey, your politicians passed and signed federal law 9 years ago to allow private equity (wall street) to buy and own healthcare systems and physician groups. Prior to that it was illegal. Now private equity is the largest employer of emergency room physicians in America and as owners of healthcare system employees many many doctors and nurses of all specialties. Private equity is buy a company reduce costs increase profit and sell it in 5-7 years. That is who owns many of your doctors and hospitals. Federal law was changed to allow that to happen and where was the objection from the people. My guess probably almost no one knew. How funny to watch your media avoid these topics when they happen and fill it with the latest on the celebrity politicians over there.”  

The nurses in the video confirm that our fetishization of corporations is the root cause of their untenable work conditions. And the reason people admitted to U.S. hospitals often receive poor care. 

It reminds me of how powerfully later seasons of “Orange Is The New Black” depicts the negative consequences of private prisons.

Because we’re complexity adverse, we don’t connect dots, like our “avoid taxes at all costs” myopia and our near religious beliefs in “free” markets. Those neoliberal pillars are as solid as they’ve ever been. To question them is to be labelled a “socialist”. 

In the end, we have the public health system we deserve. A public health system that an increasing percentage of nurses don’t want anything to do with. 

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