Healthcare Cutbacks: Further Evidence That Economy Still in Trouble

| About: Health Care (XLV)

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, mainstream types keep insisting on two things: that what we are going through right now is a recession -- albeit a severe one -- and the worst is (or will soon be) over.


In fact, if I could point to one story that explains why both claims are almost certainly wide of the mark, it would be the following report from the Associated Press, "Hospitals Cutting Services, Staff Amid Recession."

Why? Because it reveals that the one sector that held up relatively well during prior recessions is now in serious trouble -- and that the finances of many health care providers are so impaired that they are willing to defy a long-time industry aversion to economizing and retrenchment.

Ailing from the recession, many U.S. hospitals have had to begin making painful cuts to patient services and laying off staff, as previous cost-cutting hasn't been enough, an industry survey found.

In previous recessions the health care industry has held up well, but this time hospitals and other health care businesses are hurting. Besieged by financial pressures including more needy and uninsured people, hospitals now are making tough decisions that affect their patients and communities.

The American Hospital Association found 22 percent of hospitals that responded to its March survey have reduced services since the economic crisis began in September. Those services range from outpatient clinics and behavioral health programs to patient education and home health care after discharge.