From the Times Picayune we learn that the Bush administration has made it clear they do not support Louisiana’s plan to build a new health care facility to replace Charity Hospital. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson wrote a laundry list letter of his problems with the plan. In it he even claimed the state had “inflated” local demand for hospital beds.
Of course the Bush administration had been pushing the state to implement the Bush administration’s new plan of health care for the poor—government subsidized private health insurance rather than the Charity Hospital system. There’s some irony. In the rest of the country poor folk can’t get into existing hospital beds for lack of insurance. Only in New Orleans would the plan be for poor folk to haveinsurance but no hospital to obtain treatment. These guys continue to amaze in their evil ability to look as though they are helping the people while their machinations pad privatecompanies’ profits.
Likewise this news once again puts on display the Bush administration’s ability to throw a monkey wrench into recovery momentum. After months of debate there was finally momentum on the hospital plan which state lawmakers had “overwhelmingly approved.” Some movement. In walks Bush to mess it up.
That is the same Bush who when it is convenient to dodge federal responsibilty for the recovery claims “That’s a local decision to make.” Just go read the transcript of this Bush speech in New Orleans at the one year anniversary of Katrina. When it came to the overwhelming issues of crime, schools and housing, Bush stressed local control and decisions. But now when the locals agree that they aren’t too keen on making Louisiana the administration’s petri dish to grow their new line of poor people’s health insurance, thank you very much, the administration hits them where it hurts. No grants for you guys. Isn’t it grand to be George and have it both ways?
It has some calling foul partisan politics…
“It is obvious that Secretary Jackson and his staff are looking for any
small reason, any large reason, any in-between reason to deny or delay
the rest of the action plan that was overwhelmingly approved by both
chambers of the Louisiana Legislature,” said Charles Zewe, spokesman
for the LSU System. “This can only result in a further, lengthy delay,
and one has to wonder whether there is a partisan political agenda at
work here to victimize people who cannot speak for themselves and who
are suffering because of a lack of services.”
Finally juxtapose all this against news reported today of a study finding a 47% increase in deaths in postkatrinafederalflood New Orleans. The study’s author states NOLA’s health care challenges has had “significant impact on mortality.” Those challenges would be the loss of 7 hospitals, half the city’s hospital beds and many doctors. Of course all that must be “inflated.”
Well here is inflated…
I take full responsibility for the federal government’s response, and a
year ago I made a pledge that we will learn the lessons of Katrina and that
we will do what it takes to help you recover. (Applause.) I’ve come back
to New Orleans to tell you the words that I spoke on Jackson Square are
just as true today as they were then.–George Bush. 8/29/2006