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HOPSITALS: Universal stopped from saving its people by FEMA

We’ve by now heard of the real heroics performed by HCA to get people out of Tulane Hospitals (and the city owned hospital next door). Yesterday Bob Herbert’s NY Times Op-Ed highlights a case I missed where another for-profit corporate parent Universal tried to help one of its hospitals — Methodist — and incredibly FEMA basically requisitioned all their equipment and supplies. None of them got to the hospital. Herbert writes:

Bruce Gilbert, Universal’s general counsel, told me yesterday, "Those supplies were in fact taken from us by FEMA, and we were unable to get them to the hospital. We then determined that it would be better to send our supplies, food and water to Lafayette [130 miles from New Orleans] and have our helicopters fly them from Lafayette to the hospital."

Significant relief began to reach the hospital on Thursday, and by Friday evening everyone had been removed from the ruined premises. They had endured the agonies of the damned, and for all practical purposes had been abandoned by government at all levels.

I can’t find any news story backing this up, other than confirmation from Universal that Methodist is indeed closed, but while Herbert may be a woolly liberal opposed to everything that Bush stands for, it’s unlikely that a for-profit hospital company is making this up just to upset the Administration.

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AbbygadflyTomHilliardRon GreinerTrapier Recent comment authors
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Trapier
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“Catastrophe in Big Easy Demonstrates Big Government’s Failure”
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=4819

gadfly
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gadfly

//Gadfly – Canada has its own constitution//
I know – I was being facetious… 🙂
But, yay Canada. I wish I was Canadian for oh so many reasons…

Trapier
Guest

Gadfly – Canada has its own constitution and its own Supreme Court.
Mr. Hillard – I have never voted for George W. Bush.
Trapier
http://www.isemmelweis.com

gadfly
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gadfly

//evil or incompetent become judges// From experience, I’d like to point out another evil is that access to lawyers are another market. If you’re case isn’t going to make enough money to be worth their while, lawyers pass you over. No one compensates people for the time spent trying to find a lawyer or the trauma of having to repeat the story of a wrong done over and over (to be capped by yet another rejection from a lawyer). And on top of that there is a social assumption that people will be able to get a lawyer if their… Read more »

gadfly
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gadfly

//their unconstitutional single payer system//
The Canadians have adopted the U.S. Constitution?

Abby
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Abby

Thanks Tom. It was basically my point. A functioning private sector insurance system depends on a competent government. (California had problems when it’s insurance commissioner was a crook, for example.) Even Adam Smith said that for a market economy to function, you needed a system of laws, and that requires courts which are an essential government function, and when bad people who are either evil or incompetent become judges, it matters. Notwithstanding the existence of arbitration, it really wouldn’t do to have people shop around for a different answer when they’ve welched on a contract. Now, in a whole host… Read more »

Ron Greiner
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Ron Greiner

Tom,
Why can’t people understand what you are thinking? You are correct that Socialism was really bad for the Soviets. It’s a 20th Century thing.
I just love it when Canadians discuss HSAs. When we get done reforming the US health care system let’s bee-line it to Canada and help them reform their unconstitutional single payer system with tax free HSAs.
http://www.quebecoislibre.org/05/050915-8.htm

TomHilliard
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Trapier, there’s a difference between an incompetent administration and one that holds its own government in contempt. Our government has strong institutions, a highly capable bureaucracy (sure, laugh, but it’s true), and a citizenry trained in democratic decisionmaking. Contrast the U.S. with, say, Russia, where those conditions are not present, and you see how well off we are. Not surprisingly, the private sector is a mess in Russia. A working public sector is essential to having a thriving private sector. I think that’s Abby’s point. But if you declare government to be the enemy and advocate the election of people… Read more »

Abby
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Abby

Trapier,
Insurance is a pretty regulated market and depends on competent government. I’m not talking about coverage requirements as much as basic reserve rules etc. If your insurer goes out of business after you’ve paid them money, you’re kind of in trouble.

Trapier
Guest

Good point Mr. Hillard, but isn’t it the point? The Clinton administration did believe in a strong government and Bush did fill FEMA with cronies. This is the classic fault with dependence upon the state: we are always one election, or one executive appointment away from incompetence or corruption. And that’s too dangerous, considering the large number of appointments a universal system would require, to risk with something so important as healthcare. Yet the moment a private company begins to waiver there will be hundreds of others, faster, smarter, younger, and more willing to please the public, eager to perpetuate… Read more »

Ron Greiner
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Ron Greiner

Abby, You only talk with Libertarians? My wife calls herself a Reagan Republican but I’m the new kind of Republican, called Bush Republicans. When the public figures out about the tax free HSA and the Ownership Society and how President Bush slipped it by Ted Kennedy and Hillary before they could even demonize it, everybody will want to put President Bush on Mt. Rushmore. Then the Bush Republican ranks will swell about the time of the next Presidential election. Ignoring the HSA never makes it go away, ask Senator Kennedy. Shoot, the President got AARP to endorse the HSA passage… Read more »

Ron Greiner
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Ron Greiner

gadfly, Sorry gadfly, to this very day I can honestly say, I’ve never made a penny on an HSA, ha ha, or an MSA either, darn it. You don’t see anything that says there is a commission on the HSA. What you see is commissions on all the different health insurance. Trust me, if I didn’t make some money on the low cost HSA health insurance I would have to jerk the advertising. I’m sure you understand gadfly I can’t pay all the expenses and then not make anything, come on. I know this MBA agent that charges people $250… Read more »

Abby
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Abby

gadfly, let’s just agree to ignore Ron’s comments. I thought that Tom Hilliard’s answer was in response to Trapier’s comments. I’m perfectly willing to discuss issues with libertarians like Trapier and Eric Novack, but we can just ignore Ron.

gadfly
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gadfly

Ron – I just saw an ad for Fortis which says it offers “strong commissions and bonuses” for its agents, including HSAs. Some of the bonuses seem to be coming from the insurance plan you place the HSA with. Still want to claim you aren’t making money off pushing HSAs?

Ron Greiner
Guest
Ron Greiner

Your right Tom, It was President Clinton and Hillary that greatly enhanced government control over health insurance in America. Remember when President Clinton said, “Most Americans have their health insurance from their employer and we should build on that system.” He was wrong and look at the explosion in cost for employer health insurance. You can say that the Governor of Florida was helped during last year’s hurricanes because it was an election year, but that’s just too goofy. What you mean to say is that Florida’s Governor was a leader and Governor Blanco is not. This is well documented… Read more »