North Kansas City Hospital Getting Very Interesting Very Fast
Things seem to be moving very quickly in the debate about the future of the North Kansas City hospital. Lawsuits, amendments to bills, new trustees, late-night rule changes . . . the only thing missing is the Turk trying to finish off Don Corleone. This is unfortunate, because the discussion about the potential future sale, transfer, or privatization of the hospital is extremely important.
Needless to say, rushed changes to the board rules and amendments added to bills after public hearings are completed does not make for good public policy. A judge upheld the right of the city to add new members to the hospital board, but I have heard that the current board members changed the board rules to require a super-majority vote on certain actions before the new members could be appointed. That might be clever, but it is hardly admirable.
Legislation taking the hospital away from the entity that has owned it for decades would be a very dangerous precedent, terrible policy, and wrong, all combined. Maybe it is just me, but I think taking away ownership of the hospital from the city is, you know, a bad idea. The city owns the hospital. It has always owned the hospital. The city should be able to do what it wants with the hospital, be that sale, privatization, closure, expansion, whatever. (Let’s be clear, however: under every legitimate scenario, the hospital is going to continue operating.)
I am no lawyer, but I have to imagine the courts will continue to side with the city here. That makes legislative changes the best option for hospital activists opposed to any structural changes. It would be extremely unfortunate if a pro-free- market legislature made an exception in this case and blocked the city from even considering something such as privatization, which most members of the legislature would usually support.