Sunday, February 7, 2010

A lesson from Miami

Still thinking about national healthcare reform? Here's a lesson from Miami.

Miami-Dade's healthcare leaders agreed Wednesday that the county dare not let the beleaguered Jackson Health System fail, but no one yet has a clear idea of how to keep it going.

"This is the safety institution for all of South Florida," said Brian Keeley, chief executive of Baptist Health. "Everybody counts on it. I can't imagine the County Commission letting it fail."'

"I believe the community will figure out a way to make this work," said John H. Copeland III, chairman of the Public Health Trust, which governs Jackson. "But there are communities that have shut down safety net hospitals. It's hard to imagine that happening with Jackson, but it's within the realm of possibility."

These comments came a day after Jackson executives released revised figures, forecasting that the public system will lose $229 million this fiscal year. It is losing $14 million a month. As of Nov. 30, it had $99.2 million cash. That works out to 22 days of cash on hand to pay bills. At the rate it's losing money, Jackson will be flat broke by the end of June.

Jackson is what used to be called a "charity hospital". And, it is clearly our moral duty and charitable obligation to provide healthcare to our less fortunate fellow Americans.

But . . . providing healthcare to our less fortunate fellow Americans means limiting it to our fellow Americans, not giving it away to illegal aliens. In Miami, the health needs of illegal immigrants are bankrupting a public charitable scheme for lower income citizens and legal residents.

Moreover, expect to pay for it. Anyone who says any broadening of healthcare coverage to the less fortunate will be "revenue neutral" is a liar.