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'Failing Us' 


Lately in the news we've seen the creeping disintegration of local medical services — Redwood Memorial's obstetrics department closed, a Eureka pediatric clinic closed, major drug stores closed, Six Rivers Clinic in Willow Creek closing soon and so on. And across the nation our hospitals are failing us.

Large corporate entities are making health care a commodity for private sale, often in the guise of being not-for-profit. Our largest local, St. Joseph's Hospital, is now subsumed by the monolith Providence. Here's what Providence CEO Rodney Hoffman says: "Nonprofit hospitals is a misnomer. There are only tax-exempt hospitals." That means the billions of dollars monster corporations amass capital investment to buy and bankrupt smaller, especially rural hospitals (heads up, Mad River Hospital!), in order to exercise muscular negotiations with the health insurance industry and justify ever higher pricing.

To uncover and demystify this alarming trend, our group, the Humboldt Chapters of Health Care for All and Physicians for a National Health Program, is hosting a new film documentary, American Hospitals; Healing a Broken System. American Hospitals examines the economic structure of the hospital industry that overburdens its workforce, charges outrageous fees and collects billions of dollars in accumulated cash — while 100 million Americans suffer from medical debt.

If we expect to solve this dilemma, we must first understand the dynamics of the problem and what needs to change in order to establish health care as a public good and not a business proposition.

In a one-time-only screening, the film shows at the Minor Theater, 1001 H St., Arcata, at 12 p.m. on Sunday, May 28. To see the trailer and reserve seats for a suggested donation, go to A Q&A session will follow. For more info:

 Patty Harvey, Willow Creek

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