This is a pandemic, it is a crisis, we are told. It is about saving lives, we are told, the economy will just have to wait. It is heartless of anyone to talk about money right now.
Since the #Coronavirus fear-mongers are begrudgingly coming to terms with the fact that the virus death rate is less than 1%, they have redirected their horror away from potential fatalities and instead now raise the alarm about the potential over-burdening of hospitals.
OK, but that is a money issue. You are also talking about money. Hospitals need more resources. Ventilators cost between $25,000 for a basic model to $50,000 for a machine used in the most advanced intensive care units, and most hospitals simply cannot afford to buy more.
They can afford, however, to pay hospital executives tens of millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses.
A report last year found that hospitals “lavishly compensate their CEOs, and spend millions of dollars, which are generated by patient fees, lobbying government to defend the status quo.”
The report stated that “collectively, $297.5 million in cash compensation flowed to the top paid executive” at each of the 82 hospitals they reviewed. They found “payouts as high as $10 million, $18 million and even $21.6 million per CEO or other top-paid employee.”
Hospital executives in New York alone received $80 million last year just in bonuses. That amount of money could have purchased 1,600 top end ventilators for New York hospitals. But now, millions of working people and small businesses in the US have to watch their jobs and livelihoods disappear; face likely insolvency, and be buried alive under a mountain of debt they may never dig their way out of, have their vehicles repossessed and their mortgages foreclosed; all because hospitals did not allocate their budgets in the best interests of public health and safety.
So, just remember that next time you want to tell working class families that they are being selfish when they want to be able to return to their jobs in order to put food on the table. You are advocating shutting down the entire economy, costing tens of millions of people their jobs and transferring responsibility for hospitals’ unpreparedness to the general public, to protect the extravagant wealth and impunity of hospital executives