Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bloomberg's Unfinished Privatization Agenda

So What is Mayor Michael Bloomberg Up To? The Same as Usual: More Privatization

by Phil E. Benjamin

So what is billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg up to? His wealth keeps amassing so that he was worth about $5 billion a few years ago, now he is up to double digits if not more that amount. He already bought the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, now know as the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Many NYC health department official are from that School, including his Commissioner of Health. He has it all figured out.

His Bloomberg Foundation serves as a nice money source for his influence peddling.

But, wait a minute he can only serve two terms. Not even Giuliani could extend his term beyond the 2 terms. That isn't stopping Bloomberg. He says his work isn't finished. Surely not. He still has to sell off more of the public schools. But, now he appears to be turning his attention to the NYC Health and Hospital Corporation [HHC].

HHC is the organization of all public hospitals in NYC. They are excellent hospitals and provide care to those who cannot get it.

The so-called not for profit hospitals, the Voluntary Hospitals, are eager to take many if not all of them over. These are private hospitals. Their CEOs are making salaries of over a million dollars each. Even the smallest of their lot give their top execs up to a million a year. Given the non-profit status, they work under the radar of public scrutiny. Remember that 75 cents of every dollar that these hospitals have is public money, i.e., Medicaid and Medicare Money. They serve as cash cows to the Medical Industrial Complex of insurance, drug, medical and equipment supply companies.

The CEO of Mt. Sinai recently moved to Aetna Insurance Co.

HHC Going Private?

Bloomberg's work isn't done. Sure isn't for his crew of millionaires.

He has just appointed Michael Stocker as the head of the HHC. Don't know the name do you? Well, this is the same guy who was hired and successfully engineered the privatization of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Yes, before Stocker, the Blues were non-profit. They were the insurance of last resort. Now, they are for profit. This contributed greatly to our insurance rate in NYC among working people.

Stocker is the kind of guy who will be able to convert the HHC hospitals to private, non-profits. Remember in NY State, state law prohibits invest owned hospitals, i.e., for profit hospitals.

Moving the HHC facilities to the non-profits, could be he next step to changing the law that allows profit making hospitals in NY State.

HHC is a major group.

Its hospitals are in Manhattan: Harlem, Bellevue and Metropolitan; Queens: Elmhust and Queens Center; Brooklyn: Kings Country [has the largest Emergency room in the country--a potential big money maker], Coney Island and Woodhull; Bronx: Jacobi and North Central Bronx.

HHC also has Diagnostic Centers: Belvis, Cumberland, East Ne York, Gouverneur, Morisania, and Renaissance. Nursing Homes: Coler-Goldwater, McKinne Gouverneur, and Sea View.

So you can see Bloomberg is not done yet.

He has to be stopped!