Framing the Dialogue


There is a local story about the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (“UPMC”) who own most of the hospitals in the surrounding area.  They do not own all of the facilities, but they are getting there.  Even though they are a non profit organization,

You can always tell a true "grassroots" protest by the large crowds holding hand lettered signs.

they are still a business and have to make some unpopular decisions.  A few months ago UPMC announced that it was closing one of its hospitals that did not have enough patients to make it viable.

The back story is that the hospital is located in a depressed, low income area.  Over the past few months there have been a lot of news stories about protests and meetings with politicians who are trying to convince UPMC to keep the facility open.  It is so typical that politicians try to pressure a business to keep a facility open that cannot support itself.  Politicians do not have a clue about business.  UPMC is taking a beating in the media and they often mention that UPMC is also planning to build a new facility in a near by community.

The story has taken a more sinister turn, however, as the federal government will be getting involved.  The Pittsburgh Tribune Review ran a piece that “federal authorities plan to investigate whether the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is violating civil rights laws by closing its hospital in the predominantly black community.”  [emphasis added]  A lawyer for the community claims that closing that facility and opening another in a more affluent and predominantly white neighborhood violates civil rights.  

As I thought about this and the fact that this community had a hospital while many others did not violates the civil rights of the other communities.  How many predominantly black communities never had a hospital?  What about me?  I have to drive over 20 minutes to get to a hospital from my house.  I feel like my rights are being violated just because I live in the suburbs.  I am a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) so I would rather the hospital be built in another neighboring community because I also have a civil right to not have my property devalued by having this too close.

Do Gooders, politicians, and activists naturally ignore the facts.  Even if a business is a non profit, they need to have income to cover expenses.  Is there a chance that the old facility is old and costly to maintain?  Is there a chance that the new facility might give better care?  Will the new facility prevent citizens from the old community from admittance? [Note: I do not know exactly where the new facility will be located, but the communities are not that far apart and there are many other hospitals nearby]  Are the citizens, politicians, and lawyers willing to commit to paying UPMC with their own money, not through taxes, for any shortfalls?

We may be witnessing the end of the greatest country that the earth has ever known.  I do not use these words lightly and I am encouraged by the growing number of citizens who are aware of the issues and are making their voices heard.  This “experiment” that started in the late 18th century by our Founding Fathers has brought more prosperity to mankind than any other society.  We need to protect it and take it back!

It has been a while so I pulled out the Declaration of Independence to search for the right to have a hospital nearby, but I could not find that right listed.  Our Founding Fathers mentioned “certain unalienable Rights” that are endowed by our Creator and include “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  There is no mention of a right to a hospital.  The next passage is very interesting;

“That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government…it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government.”

We must remember that we surround them.  It may help to remind the Government of this fact also.

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