Tuesday, September 25, 2007

SEIU & Carlyle Meet Up to Screw Americans on Healthcare

A staged protest by the Service Employees International Union at Carlyle Group headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue could have ended with leaders of both groups conferencing on how to shaft Americans on health care. SEIU is upset that Carlyle is buying huge nursing home operator, ManorCare, especially after a New York Times report showed a decline in quality of care in private equity owned nursing home companies.

Union protesters didn't mention their leaders think businesses unfairly shoulder the cost of health insurance. SEIU President Andy Stern believes the group responsible for 60% of America's health insurance coverage should be allowed to drop it. As the federal government gags over the prospect of insuring more low income children, don't expect Uncle Sam to pick up the slack. That leaves the individual employee to shoulder the burden.

I have my own beef over the ManorCare acquisition, but it relates more to Carlyle's other health care company, LifeCare Hospitals. After Hurricane Katrina, their unit in Memorial Hospital had the highest number of patient deaths. Guess who they blame in their wrongful death civil suits? The feds! Carlyle says their patients became wards of the federal government as soon as FEMA set up evacuation teams in New Orleans. This language does not exist in any hospital disaster plan I've seen. If they can fail acutely ill patients in a time of crisis, my guess is Carlyle will do the same with nursing home or Alzheimer's patients.

Speaking of abandonment, that's what America's unions want to do for employees getting health insurance coverage through work. Everybody should be covered, but no one wants to do their part.