Friday, July 13, 2012

FL guv shuts down TB hospital amid outbreak

When the government shuts down essential services that could mean life or death for thousands of people, we call that inhumane. But anti-worker politicians call it fiscal responsibility.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other tea party lawmakers shut down the state’s only TB hospital during the worst tuberculosis outbreak in 20 years last month.

According to the Miami Herald:
In late March, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that consolidated the state's Department of Health and required the closure of the A.G. Holley State Hospital in Lantana, where tuberculosis cases had been treated for more than 60 years.

The health agency ordered for the Palm Beach County hospital to be closed six months ahead of schedule. The hospital, which closed July 2, was one of four tuberculosis hospitals left in the country and the only one in Florida.
The closure was justified as a “cost-saving” measure. But what about life-saving services?

As Mother Jones commented,
What was Scott thinking? According to the Palm Beach Post, AG Holley's closure came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had warned the governor and his state health office in a report that tuberculosis was making a big comeback in the state. That report apparently never made it from those state officials to legislators who had voted to close the TB hospital.
Unfortunately this is hardly out of character for service-slashing tea partiers in the Sunshine State:
[I]t's par for the course here in Florida, where even septic-tank inspections are derided as socialism, and conservative lawmakers have cut social services to the bone—and Rick Scott has cut even further, using his line-item veto to slash mercilessly at Legislature-approved spending he deems unimportant.
Teamsters in Florida are painfully aware of Scott’s determination to downsize government with no regard for public safety. He and his friends in the Legislature have pushed to privatize state prisons, threatening the safety of Florida communities and the jobs of 20,000 FDOC Teamsters.

With the outrage over the state’s shuttering of the TB hospital, you’d think Scott would have something to say to the public about his callous service cuts.

But he’s is too busy schmoozing with aerospace executives in the U.K. While the tuberculosis flare-up has already claimed the lives of 13 Floridians, Scott’s overseas itinerary includes visits to the Farnborough International Air Show and Lloyd's of London. In his 19 months as governor, he’s also made official trips to Brazil, Canada, Israel, Panama, and Spain.

How’s that for sick priorities?

-- Union Thug