I had to go to the board of trustees meeting for the medical center. The trustees are an interesting group, some are local businessmen, several are in politics and one is very wealthy thanks to his inheritance. He is a proud fixture of the local democratic party and a major donor for them. I usually like to sit next to him just to see if anything is sinking in.
Anyway, the meeting's purpose was to explain why the medical center was shutting down most of its community outreach programs such as the diabetic teaching centers and local physical therapy centers as well as decreasing its overall staff. It also explained why it was shutting down two of the outside local satellite hospitals. Of course this created an uproar and the trustees wanted to know why.
Out came the numbers. Although the overall number or patients for all areas of the medical center was increasing (inpatient, outpatient and ancillaries such as diagnostic) the ratio of government insurance to private insurance was increasing. Simply put, the hospital was seeing more people with government insurance than private insurance and was therefore going broke. In fact, the center was losing money hand over fist. Even though it is seeing more patients, since they had Medicare or Medicaid it cost more to take care of them than they got from the government.
As this information was being digested by the trustees, I looked around to see the 3 Democratic politicians in the room. They were squirming a bit in their chairs. Before I could even look at Mr. Trust Fund, he spoke out and said it will "all be better with Obama's health care plan once we have a "public option". He said this after we had just seen graph after graft showing that the more goverment insurance we got, the worse we were! I wanted so hard to ask him what color the water was in his glass!!