The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Hospital Closures:
Putting Profit above Human Life

Feb 3, 2020

St. Vincent Medical Center, which had been serving patients in Los Angeles for more than 160 years, permanently closed its doors on January 24.

What happened to St. Vincent fits a pattern. Across the U.S., at least 30 hospitals entered bankruptcy in 2019. These hospitals include large ones in big cities, as well as smaller ones serving sparsely populated rural areas. But generally, they have one thing in common: these hospitals provide badly needed, vital services to mostly impoverished working-class and farming communities. St. Vincent’s ER, for example, located in a heavily populated working-class area near downtown L.A., was serving 23,000 patients each year.

In 2018, financial analysts working for Morgan Stanley declared that 18% of hospitals in the U.S. should be closed or considered weak. These analysts were calling those hospitals “weak” NOT because the health care these hospitals provided was poor. No, it was because the hospitals were not producing enough profit by the criteria of Wall Street banks these analysts worked for!

No, it’s not hospitals that have failed. It’s the capitalist system, which puts the unfettered greed of one filthy-rich “investor” above the lives of thousands of working-class people, that is bankrupt and rotten to the core.