St. David's Puts Corporate Profits Over Community Health In Opposing Prop 1

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A private, for-profit healthcare system is putting their own bottom line over the health of our community right here in Travis County.

St. David's Healthcare, a private, for-profit hospital system, is now campaigning against Central Health Proposition 1 because its passage would hurt their corporate bottom line. The Austin American-Statesman reported today that St. David's has come out against the local ballot proposition to raise funds to support bringing a medical school to Austin. Sadly, their motivation is all about putting their corporate profits above our community health.

The Seton family of hospitals, which are the one of the major providers in the Travis County healthcare district, are non-profit healthcare providers, and thus are more concerned with healthy patient outcomes than corporate bottom lines.

St. David's has been involved in discussions about Prop 1 and efforts to bring a medical school to Austin since the very beginning of the process. But now that they're not going to make enough money if it passes, they've decided to come out against it during the first week of early voting. It's a cruddy move that could very well result in preventing Travis County residents from accessing the healthcare that they desperately need.

St. David's is controlled by HCA, a gigantic corporation that controls 163 hospitals across the country and is owned by — wait for it — Bain Capital, the private equity firm started by Mitt Romney.

St. David's parent corporation is raking in record profits as healthcare costs spiral out of control. HCA-controlled hospitals like St. David's have increased their profits by finding ways to squeeze more money out of private insurance corporations.

So let's get this straight. A private, for-profit hospital system (St. David's) owned by a private equity firm (Bain Capital) that was founded by Mitt Romney is campaigning against a ballot measure (Central Health Prop 1) that will expand non-profit healthcare and provide increased access to healthcare for all Travis County residents, especially the neediest.

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country. It's a disgrace. Even Travis County has 200,000 uninsured residents, many of whom are working families. Central Health will expand access to healthcare for the uninsured, and support a broad network of providers to address a wide range of healthcare needs.

But since its passage will mean that St. David's won't be able to profit as much off providing healthcare to the poor, they're opposing Prop 1.

This doesn't quite pass the smell test. St. David's can't get a big enough piece of the financial pie to make it worth their corporate backers' time, so they want to make sure no one else can provide expanded healthcare options either.

Prop 1 shouldn't be about whether a big corporation can make enough money off of sick Travis County residents, but thanks to St. David's craven political move, the election may well now hinge on their last-ditch effort to put their own profits above our community health.  

Don't be fooled. Vote FOR Central Health Proposition 1 and help bring much-needed healthcare access to Travis County.  

About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She has previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Austin. In addition to serving as the president of Austin Young Democrats, she is also UCONN's #1 fan in Texas.

4 Comments

  1. Look Into the Details
    I would just like to point out a couple of MAJOR items concerning Prop. One that made me decide to vote AGAINST it.

    1. The hospital proposed would be funded through a 63% PROPERTY TAX INCREASE which will be passed right along to renters too.

    Once again RAISING THE COST OF LIVING IN AUSTIN largely to benefit REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS.

    The current tax rate of 7.9 cents per $100 valuation will be increased to 12.9 cents per $100 valuation. That's a HUGE increase in property taxes that are already way too high.

    2. Furthermore, the $275 million being put up by UT and Seton covers ONLY THE COST OF BUILDING THE HOSPITAL.

    Once that money is spent guess who will be footing the bill for the new Hospital?  THE AUSTIN AREA TAXPAYER

    The new hospital is projected to cost $4.1 BILLION – THAT'S BILLION – to operate over the next 12 years.

    So let me get this straight – UT and Seton are putting up less than ONE THIRD OF A BILLION DOLLARS toward a project that may ultimately cost BILLIONS OF DOLLARS???

    Yes, Seton and UT are getting away with paying LESS THAN ONE YEAR'S OPERATING COSTS for the hospital LEAVING AUSTIN RESIDENTS FOOTING THE BILL IN PERPETUITY.

    Sounds like a complete rip-off to me.

    Seton already exists as a Hospital where the uninsured/underinsured can go for treatment AND IT IS LOCATED IN CENTRAL AUSTIN.

  2. 25% + of Obama voters will vote against Prop 1
    The reason they will do that is because they are being kicked in the gut with a massive property tax increase. The Gray Panthers and LULAC both oppose Prop 1.

    This is a perfect example of “the people” vs. the political elites of both parties who are basically trying to steal from them.

    Kirk Watson and Rick Perry are both for this. There is no prominent Travis County Republican, office holder, congressman or nominee who is against this monstrosity. Many of them are secretly for it; a la Robert Thomas whose wife has a fluffy, puffy $383,000/year job at UT as a vice chancellor of health affairs (read Med School PR flack).

    So St. David's cares about its profits??

    There is small gymnasium full of Prop 1 supporters who only care about their personal SALARIES and what they personally can get when dump trucks full of money is dumped on their and their friends's heads.

    On Tuesday, Nov. 6th, 7PM, the early vote totals for Prop 1 will be in and that property owner will have tossed this massive assault on the taxpayer into the trash can.

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