Commentary: Respect for Hoag but not its board

Re. "Healthcare CEO compares 'Obamacare' to DMV" (Aug. 1): I attended the event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce at the Newport Beach Central Library last week.

Chasen Doerr's article in the Daily Pilot reported with precision both the tone and the substance of what was said by Covenant Healthcare's Dr. Richard Afable and Hoag Hospital's Robert Braithwaite. The tone of the event was condescending and superficial and the substance was appropriate for an elementary school student.

Ah, to compare Obamacare to the DMV. Please ask Dr. Afable why that analogy was appropriate.

Dr. Afable went on and on about how the consolidation of medical care in our community, and in the U.S., would be so beneficial to us, the consumer. Obviously, Dr. Afable knows about the economics of healthcare and was hoping his audience did not. I happen to believe that creating medical monopolies will provide cost savings to the hospitals but not necessarily to the consumer.

Dr. Afable's other concern was the necessity for the young and well to buy health insurance in order for Obamacare to work. He noted that his son does not have health insurance because it is so expensive. Yes, we need the young and healthy to buy health insurance to balance out the old and sick and those without insurance.

I have lived in Newport for 38 years. Both of my daughters were born at Hoag. I respect the hospital but I do not respect the board or the administration. Both failed to talk to the community about this affiliation except in very general and face-saving terms. Hoag affiliated with St. Joseph Healthcare System because Hoag needed the financial resources of St. Joe's to prosper. I appreciate that and hold the board accountable for not carefully monitoring the finances of Hoag.

Of course the big unsaid was that the affiliation would deny women complete reproductive care because St Joe's Statement of Core Values will never permit abortions. The big question now is, what other reproductive services will be sacrificed due to the affiliation with a Catholic hospital? Will this cause Hoag to rescind the affiliation? Of course not. That is too bad.

Hoag is our hospital, a very good hospital. But I now look at it differently. There is a certain sense of lost trust.

PAMELA GILMOUR lives in Newport Beach.

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