The CEO of a Philadelphia-based hospital claims he tried everything he could to keep a university-affiliated medical facility from losing money but concluded it must close, causing presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to blame it on a U.S. health care system that cares more about profits than people.
“The business model of America’s current health care system is not about healing people or providing access to medical care — it is about making as much money as possible for insurance companies, drug companies, and wealthy investors,” Sanders said in a Politico report.
Sanders spoke in April at the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, which supports Medicare for All. The union endorsed Sanders in his 2016 presidential bid. He is hoping to win its backing again, a Sanders aide said.
The Sanders campaign is also planning to make health care a centerpiece of its strategy in Pennsylvania, and argues that what it calls former Vice President Joe Biden’s “middle-ground approach” to the issue will lead to outcomes such as Hahnemann’s closure.
“American Academic Health System CEO Joel Freedman said he ‘relentlessly pursued numerous strategic options’ to keep the Philadelphia-based Hahnemann University Hospital open, but it ‘cannot continue to lose millions of dollars each month and remain in business,’” Politico reported.
The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals blamed Freedman for the closure and said it would cause a “public health emergency.”
WHYY public radio station reported:
The nearly 500-bed hospital is a Level 1 trauma center and the main teaching hospital for Drexel University’s medical school and serves many low-income patients across Philadelphia.
Hahnemann’s emergency department sees roughly 40,000 patients a year, and almost two-thirds of the hospital’s patients have government health insurance, such as Medicaid or Medicare.
“Medicare for All will not only save hospitals, but it will energize Pennsylvanians to vote and finally defeat Donald Trump,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, told Politico. “I think anyone pushing for less than Medicare for All needs to explain how their system would cost a hell of a lot less if it’s still going to be making life worse for too many Pennsylvanians.”
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