Another strike looms involving the same 12,000 nurses who struck for one day earlier this month in the Twin Cities. This time, however, the strike is open-ended.
The pro-union blog In These Times takes a look the growing unionization of the health care industry and, like the plague that the public-sector unions have caused on many states and municipalities, the future of health care does not look pretty.
The recent healthcare overhaul has hospitals preparing for the worst, anticipating a future in which they’ll be the ones paying for rising medical costs with little help from states looking to trim their own budget.
The union is hoping to standardize staffing levels in the name of patient safety, but hospitals claim it is too expensive. Many hospitals across the country are short-staffed and nurses take on more patients than they can handle during their typical 12-hour work days. That creates a climate of not only overwork but can potentially cause medical mishaps. The MNA hopes to reduce the ratio to one nurse for every four patients in an effort to prevent more than 72,000 yearly deaths, according to a journal report in the August 2005 issue of Medical Care.
Hospitals claim it will cost $250 million a year to sustain those levels at a time when they are looking to cut costs. Minnesota reduced its health payments to hospitals for Medicaid. And a report by the Congressional Budget Office wrote that hospitals will be required to pay for $113 billion as a result of Obama’s healthcare plan over the next decade.
As the nationalization of health care gets into full swing, America should expect to see more health care unions walling out on their patients as the Minnesota nurses are about to (again).