So You Propose What?

Every now and then The Washington Post will produce an editorial that is so stupid and perplexing that it makes me long for the days of the Yarmouth Register or Cape Cod Times. My all-time favorite was an editorial lamenting the death of an eagle that lived by the Wilson Bridge. That was just silly. An editorial published today is much more troublesome.

The Post frets that the city could get ripped off when it sells off Greater Southeast Community Hospital to the highest bidder. Unfortunately for the city, there is only one bidder, Specialty Hospitals of America. That doesn't put us on great negotiating ground. Since the city doesn't want the only hospital in the city east of the Anacostia to close its doors, Fenty and the Council don't have a lot of options. So it should come as no surprise that Specialty Hospitals is asking for quite a bit to take the hopsital off of the city's hands. Here, "quite a bit" is a 59 million dollar loan. Interest free of course.

The Post feels like this is a bad deal. "But it's important that as Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) negotiates this deal, he protect the city's interests. A deal born of desperation is no good deal," says the Post.

Let's review. The city wants to keep the hospital open. The city has mismanaged hospitals so poorly in the past that a city takeover, in the words of the Post, "should not even be considered." There's only one company willing to take over the hospital's operations. Hmmm. I'd say the loan is pretty much a foregone conclusion. Do you have any suggestions, Post Editorial Board? Oh, you don't? Then I guess it's settled.

The problem with your "a deal born of desperation is no good deal" argument is that there are no other viable alternatives. I'll be psyched if some other companies fall out of the sky to bid on taking over Greater Southeast. But the status quo is what it is. There's a difference between "no good deal" and "the only deal that's available."

And a double fuck you to the Post Editorial Board for supporting the baseball stadium giveaway. How can one support paying $611,000,000 for a playground while opposing keeping open a motherfucking hospital at less than a tenth of the price!? And that "tenth of a price" is a FUCKING LOAN. If the hopsital suceeds, which everyone wants, we get the money back! Try cutting a better deal with the Lerners.

D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), chair of the committee on health, is right when he points to the millions of dollars the city has paid to help out developers, not to mention rich owners of sports teams. Ensuring access to high-quality health care for vulnerable people is no less a priority.

"No less a priority" implies that there could be equal priorities at play here. That's not the case. Keeping a hospital open in one of the poorest areas of the city is considerably more important than a new stadium. What I would give to live in a city where the newspaper's priorities are "hospitals > stadiums" instead of the other way around.


  1. Regis Philburn: Capricious for $50,000
    Which is is a deal made in desperation?

    A. $611,000,000 for a playground for rich ball players

    B. $59,000,000 for a hospital for poor people

    Capricious: Uh I'd like to use one of my lifelines on that question.

  2. What ever happened to all the frozen dead babies? Auction those puppies on eBay!

  3. Rusty,

    Here's how managing shitty hospitals in shitty parts of cities works:

    1) City wants to keep hospital in dire straits open. Hospital management company comes in, asks for exorbitant, interest free loan to rescue ailing hospital. City agrees out of desperation.

    2) Hospital management company proceeds to not fix a damn thing, misappropriate funds and generally suck the remaining functionality out of hospital while milking the revenue stream for all its worth.

    3) Hospital management company says they need more money in order to get the hospital back on its feet. City agrees out of desperation.

    4) Hospital management company sees gravy train ending, eventually sucks hospital dry, declares bankruptcy, and defaults on the loans. City stuck eating the loan.

    5) City wants to keep hospital in dire straits open...

    Rinse and repeat.

  4. Ok, so the only option is closing the only hospital on the eastern side of th Anacostia? That's not acceptable. I admit the city's options are limited. But if not this, what else?

  5. Maybe instead we could set up some sort of prostitution ring involving the fire department. We could use that money earned to help pay for the hospital. BJs for healthcare! :D

  6. What's more American than baseball?

    Hey Rusty, you don't hate DC, you hate America!!

    Why do you hate America, Rusty? (wraps self in flag)