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Here We Go President Obama


Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

President Obama, here we go down the road of unintended consequences and wasting taxpayers’ money.

Baylor Health Care System plans to ask for some of the state’s federal economic stimulus money for two of its multimillion-dollar projects.”

You have given states economic stimulus money without control over how it is to be spent. Is a grant to Baylor Health Care System going to stimulate the economy? Is this going to repair the healthcare system?

Baylor’s request reminds me of a story about the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center’s legendary former chief of medicine Donald Seldin M.D., MACE.

In 1952, at the age of 33, was named chief of medicine at Southwestern Medical School. He came to Dallas from Yale as an accomplished nephrologist. Southwestern Medical School’s physical facilities at the time were a group of Quonset huts.

At that time Dr. Seldin was invited to attend a meeting on how to cure arthritis in the indigent community. The committee for the cure of arthritis had already decided on it plan for cure.

The plan was presented by a retired army general. He said the city fathers had to fund twenty fully equipped ambulances at $20,000 each. The ambulances would bring indigent people to Parkland Memorial Hospital for treatment.

As the story goes, Dr. Seldin had one of his now famous outbursts. He told them it was totally illogical and a grand waste of 1952 dollars. He said city fathers should grant Southwestern Medical School $200,000 for him to establish an annuity. With this annuity he would bring one of the most famous arthritis researchers in the country to Dallas to find the cure for arthritis. Somehow he convinced the city fathers of his logic. He had an endowment to bring Dr. Morris Ziff to Dallas to head a new form Department of Rheumatology. In his lifetime Dr. Ziff almost found the cure for rheumatoid arthritis. He trained hundreds of Rheumatologists. They will find the cure.

“Baylor is seeking money for a cancer center to be built near downtown Dallas and a diabetes center in South Dallas. Baylor would not say how much it intends to request.”

President Obama, your stimulus money should be going to finding a cure for the dysfunctional healthcare system, not throwing money at an old system.

“A request for stimulus money could raise eyebrows because Baylor has said it has enough money for the projects. The stimulus money, if granted, would be used to hire more people from within the community, said Kristi Sherrill, Baylor’s vice president of government affairs.”

Isn’t that a sweet answer? The money will be used by Baylor to build a facility. In turn Baylor will charge the government for care of the patients that come to the clinics.

"Any additional funding granted to these two projects, both already under way, would be used to directly help patients fight two of the biggest health issues affecting North Texans," cancer and diabetes, said Sherrill.”

Doesn’t this sound like the rheumatoid arthritis story? It seems like someone in the state of Texas gets it. It is not clear whether Governor Perry gets it.

“Talmadge Heflin, director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, said his organization believes that stimulus money should be used for one-time projects.”

"We believe they should not use the money in a way that would create an ongoing obligation for the state," Heflin said. "And we don’t believe the money should be spent just because you can get it."

Think about it President Obama. You gave the money to the states. The states are going to spend it as they wish. It might not comply with your good intentions to repair the healthcare system or stimulate the economy. Your goals are good. The route you are taking neither repairs the healthcare system nor stimulates the economy.

The most pointed statement was made by a comment at the end of Jason Roberson in the Dallas Morning News article revealing Baylor’s intentions

“Watch all the little piggys run to the big, fat Federal teat.
I got a hog pen that needs finishing. Could I get some stimulus funds for that? It would be the compassionate thing to do.”

Enlightened Rogue

Baylor does not need the money. They have plenty of funding and creditworthiness. Nonprofit hospitals already receives 32 billion dollars in subsidies from the federal government to service the indigent. The nonprofit hospital only spend 5 billion retail dollars in service.

“Regardless of what economic stimulus money it receives, Baylor appears to have the money and creditworthiness to complete its projects.”

President Obama, a request of this sort has plenty of destructive unintended consequences. I suggest you hire people to figure out the cure of the healthcare system and not throw taxpayers money out the window for worthless ambulances that will neither cure the problems nor stimulate the economy.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

  • emr

    Well something needs to be done and at least Obama is trying to make a difference. Unfortunately the whole healthcare situation is bittersweet because the long term economic effects from profits lost to pharmacuetical companies will be enormous

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