Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fallout from an unhealthy economy

THE OFFICIAL announcement that Akron General Health System was laying off 20 managers, a cutback reported without specific numbers in this column several weeks ago,  is a perfect example of how the economic mess is not isolated to one institution or another.  And it also demonstrates how reliant everybody is on everybody else, the congressional Republican crybabies  notwithstanding.  

Akron General's President and Chief Executive Alan Bleyer attributed the staff reduction to  the hospital's financial losses that have risen because there are more patients seeking treatment without health insurance.   Keeping in mind that I am not an economist, although I'm not sure what benefit that would offer, if you roll back the tape, here's what you would find:

Joe has a family with two kids and a job that covers part  of his health insurance.  He arrives at work one day and learns that he has no job and no health insurance.  He cannot immediately apply for unemployment benefits.  A week later he is involved in an accident and suffers a broken ankle and head injuries.    But being without worker benefits would relieve an atom of pressure on the state, who would otherwise have to cover him eventually with such benefits even though the state treasury is running billions in the red.  

His emergency room treatment would lead him to spending three days in the hospital to observe  his head trauma, which turns out to be minor.  Total cost: $32,987.34.  Joe can't pay it.  The hospital absorbs it as bad debt.  Such  debts pile up.  Ultimately the hospital is deeply in the red and must start laying off people, scattering them among millions of others who are adrift in a devastated economy. Meantime, Joe falls behind on his mortgage payments, again one of millions, and is forced out of his modest  Cape Cod.  Now without his unaffordable car insurance, he cannot renew his license.  Many others in Joe's straits stop snacking at the small neighborhood restaurant.  It closes.  On and on, fast-forwarding to a decision to lay off hospital workers.  Or auto workers.  Or any kind of workers.

Smug panelists on Fox News all agree that people who lose their homes (implicitly, as well as their jobs) are  getting what they asked for in life and should not be anybody else's concern.

Just wait.    


1 comment:

PJJinOregon said...

The Washington D.C. Zoo sports a new exhibit containing 3 Rino's; all 3 were found in the woods of Maine and Pennsylvania. Democrats have started a drive to return the Rinos to their native habitat hoping that they will increase and multiply. Dixiecans want the Rinos kept in the zoo but not exhibited. What's a rino, you ask. It's a Republican In Name Only and definitely not a Dixiecan.