Wed, 23 May 2007 18:42:06
I wanted John Breaux to run for Governor and was disappointed when he did not. That is until I read a letter to the editor from the former Senator in Tuesday’s Picayune. What bugged me about Breaux’s letter? Breaux came out against the Charity Hospital System and by implication the plans to build a large teaching hospital in downtown New Orleans. This is the passage that bothered me the most:
“And we should applaud all of the private and non-profit hospitals and community physicians that have stepped up to serve all patients including the uninsured often without compensation. These providers have brought high-quality convenient care to uninsured and underinsured patients since Hurricane Katrina and want to continue to do so. I am proud to be working with the Coalition of Leaders for Louisiana Healthcare a group of health care and business leaders who have made it their priority to continue the work of the Louisiana Health Care Redesign Collaborative. “
It all sounds very lofty doesn’t it? Sneaky is the right word: Breaux fails to mention that the law/lobbying firm he works for Patton Boggs represents the Wal-Mart wannabe of local medicine: Ochsner Clinic. So John Breaux is out to help Ochsner and the insurance companies line their pockets in the name of “patient choice.” I put quotes around the last phrase because it’s a fictional conceit; especially in physician-lite post-K Debrisville. In the past I avoided going to Ochsner docs because of the clinic’s convoluted and inept billing system. But Ochsner has swallowed the competition in its quest to become the Wal-Mart of New Orleans metro area medicine. Some choice.
The Charity Hospital system ain’t perfect but it’s necessary. Doctors around the world get their training in public hospitals treating poor people. Louisiana is NOT the only state that has public hospitals but that’s what anti-Charity interests want people to believe. The proposed downtown teaching hospital is important for the future of our state and city. If Ochsner gets away with its attempt to monopolize health care in our area we are screwed.
Back to John Breaux. He has the right to sell out to the highest bidder but he shouldn’t cloak the interests of his lobbying firm beneath highfalutin words and noble sentiments. I’m glad that he’s not running for Governor. He might have been the temporary savior of the Louisiana Democratic party but he would have destroyed the Charity Hospital system in the name of reform. I’m not sure what Bobby Jindal’s position is on the downtown teaching hospital BUT it couldn’t be worse than John Breaux’s.