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Health care a careless proposition

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Gloria Diaz, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Gloria Diaz, Arts Editor

Why is it that the Los Angeles County health care system has continually failed its patients? It is because the officials hired to run the system have engaged themselves in wasteful spending.

On Monday they delayed a vote to close two of the county’s four full-service public hospitals, Olive View-UCLA and Harbor-UCLA medical centers. How can officials even think of closing these facilities to the disadvantaged who use them?

Back in June, county officials had to close 11 health centers and four school- based clinics because of a budget shortfall of $500 million, which is projected to grow to $750 million in the next three years.

Are these officials not concerned with the consequences this will have on the health of the hundreds of low-income residents who come pouring into these clinics every day?

I am appalled that they would even ask that voters such as myself approve a parcel tax to bail out these hospitals.

How are voters supposed to believe that the money provided by this tax, $168 million annually, will go to the hospitals rather than officials?

This seems to be the problem with many of the taxes that property owners have incurred over the years.

Remember Proposition BB?

It was supposed to provide money to the public school system. Instead it went to building the Belmont Learning Center, which has remained unfinished since health officials found high levels of chemicals in the soil.

I come from a neighborhood where these health facilities are constantly in use, the thought of one of them closing would surely be detrimental to the residents who use them on a daily basis.

County supervisors are also considering reducing the number of available beds at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center from 745 to 695 beds.

This is a major hospital serving Los Angeles and nearby communities. Reducing its availability to the patients would greatly increase health risks. I thought healthcare was supposed to reduce these risks.

Many of the people who use this facility and many others have no other healthcare alternative because they cannot afford to buy medical insurance that would otherwise put their patients higher on the totem pole.

Closing more of these public healthcare facilities would bring chaos to other full-service emergency rooms.

Early in the summer, it was reported by Fox 11 news that L.A. County healthcare could not account for money that was intended to go to AIDS health services. Another prime example that proves how careless county health officials have become. Our fearless leader, Gov. Gray Davis, is choosing to wait to intervene in the health care crisis until next month.

Actually, he will decide next month if he is going to call a special legislative session to discuss the county’s deficit.

This means he is not going to take action, he is only going to add to the bureaucracy that has created this budget deficit.

One way to alleviate the budget deficit is for high paid officials to take a pay cut.

In a time where the budget deficit is at an all time high, why are city and state officials getting raises?

What is the point of having public health care if it is going to be the last priority on the county’s agenda?

Unfortunately, a mistake made by county officials will hurt the innocent people who depend on their low-cost health care to provide them with the medical attention they need.

Gloria Diaz, a sophomore journalism major, is arts and entertainment editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at btls60s@att.net.

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