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Health care as luxury commodity

Cowboy hat By Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer - Fri., 3/9/12
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In these times of cold, health-care austerity, it reaffirms one's faith in humanity to learn that many hospitals are going the extra mile to provide top quality care for all.

For all super-rich people that is, who can buy their way into "amenities units" that have quietly been built into secluded sections of many hospitals. It's not medical care that they're peddling to the elite, but the personal pampering that the super-rich expect in all aspects of their lives. "I was supposed to be in Buenos Aires last week taking tango lessons," a Wall Street executive explained matter-of-factly to a New York Times reporter, "but unfortunately, I hurt my back, so I'm here with my concierge."

A hospital with a concierge? Yes. This one's called Eleven West, an exclusive wing of New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center. "We pride ourselves on getting anything the patient wants," beamed Eleven West's director of hospitality. "If they have a craving for lobster tails and we don't have them on the menu, we'll go out and get them."

From New York to LA, hospitals that draw huge subsidies from us taxpayers (and often are so overcrowded that regular patients are lucky to get a gurney in the hallway) have set aside entire floors for $2,400-a-day suites with butlers, five-star meals, marble baths, imported bed sheets, special kitchens, etc. for swells who have both insurance and cash to burn.

Forget the common good, the plutocratic elite want health care as a luxury commodity. If you're interested in health care as a fundamental human need, contact Physicians for a National Health Program:

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