1.4 Million U.S. Health-Care Workers Lost Their Jobs in April
May 16, 2020 (EIRNS)—On May 8, National Public Radio’s website ran a shocking article called “As Hospitals Lose Revenue, More Than a Million Health Care Workers Lose Jobs.” https://www.npr.org/2020/05/08/852435761/as-hospitals-lose-revenue-thousands-of-health-care-workers-face-furloughs-layoff
The entire world would have expected that to fight the deadly pandemic sweeping the United States, the country would immediately bolster and consolidate its health sector to cope with the problem. Of course, building a global health system starts with the U.S. as well.
And yet, the absence of a single-payer system and the destruction of the Hill-Burton model, has handed the U.S. health system over to the dictatorship of the financial sharks running the HMOs, insurance, and the pharma business. And their logic of pure financial greed, is as deadly as a virus might be.
See the result: What is happening now is that “The only people who are coming into the hospitals are COVID-19 patients and emergencies,” says American Hospital Association Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. “All of the so-called elective surgery, hips and knees and cardiac, etc., are no longer being done in most institutions around the country.” The same statement is true in nearly all countries hit by the pandemic, although beyond the purview of National Public Radio’s coverage.
However, in the U.S., hospitals and health systems are expected “to end up taking a $200 billion loss over a four-month period through June. Most of that money—$160 billion—is from lost revenue from these more lucrative elective procedures,” says Nickels.
On April 24, Donald Trump signed a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill into law, of which $75 billion in grants go to hospitals to deal with the flood of COVID-19 patients. That is excellent, but left out is a major part of the equation. As writes NPR: “It’s an ironic twist as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the nation: The very workers tasked with treating those afflicted with the virus are losing work in droves. Emergency room visits are down. Non-urgent surgical procedures have largely been put on hold. Health-care spending fell 18% in the first three months of the year. And 1.4 million healthcare workers lost their jobs in April, a sharp increase from the 42,000 reported in March, according to the Labor Department. Nearly 135,000 of the April losses were in hospitals.”