Aug 10, 2020
Mercy Hospital, the oldest in Chicago, announced that it will be closing sometime next spring. 1700 staff currently work there. Needless to say, closing a large hospital will cause unemployment and disrupt care for thousands.
Mercy opened 170 years ago—it survived and treated patients from the Chicago Fire. It is on the Northern edge of Bronzeville, Chicago’s historic black community—a community hit particularly hard by COVID-19. Mercy has one of the busiest emergency departments in the city and is one of few places on the South Side to deliver a baby. Other maternity units on the South Side have already closed to accommodate more coronavirus patients.
Mercy is now part of Trinity Health, which runs 92 hospitals and made 10 billion dollars in operating revenue just in the second half of last year. But Mercy has been losing money. That’s no shock—as a “safety net” hospital, serving the working class and poor, many Mercy patients are on Medicaid. The federal government has cut reimbursements for Medicaid care—in part because the administration was privatized.
In this society, everything is a commodity, including healthcare. If the capitalist crooks can’t make money off of it, they’ll close anything,—even a hospital in the middle of a pandemic.