Will the University of California take over “Killer King”?

Finally, California’s mainstream media has run a story that allows me to address two of my favorite bugbears: Los Angeles’ Martin Luther King, Jr.-Harbor Hospital, and San Francisco’s Health Access Plan!

Apparently, Gov. Schwarzenegger and other politicians are quarterbacking an effort for the University of California medical system to take over MLK-Harbor. This is the L.A. County hospital that opened up after the Watts riots of 1965, was known locally (and for good reason) as “Killer King”, but “never faced financial problems until lapses in care caused the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to revoke $200 million in federal funding for the hospital last summer.”

Well, better late than never, I suppose. But I’d bet the woman who died of a perforated bowel after writhing on the ER floor for 45 minutes would have been better served if the County Supervisors had been accountable to their community, instead of CMS bureaucrats in Baltimore.

I’ve written quite a thread here about how the county has been unable to address the consequences of the hospital’s closure. Now the politicians and health care elites have grappled onto another idea: let the UC system take over the hospital. As today’s article notes: UC has great medical schools; oversees residency programs at Harbor-UCLA and Olive View-UCLA; runs former county hospitals at its campuses in San Diego, Irvine, and Davis; and faculty from UCSF med school fully staff San Francisco General Hospital, S.F.’s county hospital.

It’s the last one that really gets me, because the main reason for San Francisco’s tax-hiking, “pay-or-play” mandate on employers to fund SF’s public health system (which I’ve also written lots about), is the ER crisis at S.F. General!

So, if UC does take over “Killer King”, just wait for it: An employer “pay-or-play” mandate in America’s largest county will come down the pipe soon enough. You read it here first!

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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