Quality and Corporatization of Health Care
The health care industry is increasingly being taken over by investor-owned, for-profit companies. Columbia/HCA has become the largest hospital chain in the United States and is rewarding its shareholders at the expense of employees and quality. Forty nonprofit hospitals were taken over by for-profit hospitals in 1995, and hundreds of public hospitals are at risk of closure or privatization due to the predatory practices of for-profit hospitals; and
Health care stocks traded on Wall Street rose an average of 40 percent in value in 1995. Many of these companies' stocks are owned by institutional investors including union pension funds; and
Nonprofit insurers and managed care organizations such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente, and Group Health Association, are faced with similar pressures from for-profit HMOs and insurers, with a potentially negative impact on the price of health insurance, access to health insurance, and the quality of health care; and
Managed care organizations serving both working people and Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries are increasingly erecting barriers to high quality care, discharging patients too quickly from hospitals, limiting consumer choice, and restraining doctors and other health care workers from speaking freely about treatment options and other quality issues; and
In response to unregulated, unmanaged competition, public and teaching hospitals, and other safety net and community hospitals, are being forced to cut staff, downgrade jobs, eliminate services, postpone needed investments, and make other decisions which eliminate jobs and jeopardize the quality and access of health care for entire communities.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
That AFSCME will fight the growing corporatization of health care on many fronts, including, but not limited to, fighting the takeover and forced closing of public hospitals by for-profit hospitals, fighting the conversion of non-profit, community assets to for-profit uses, lobbying for consumer rights in managed care laws, and reforming Medicaid and Medicare managed care.
Henry Nicholas, President & Delegate
Kathy J. Sackman, Secretary-Treasurer & Delegate
NUHHCE/AFSCME Local 1199