City Hall should not be in the hospital business

Hoboken Reporter

City Hall should not be in the hospital business 
Dear Editor: I thought it was great that the citizens of Hoboken organized a strenuous fight to save the venerable St. Mary Hospital. And it was sad when not a single other health-care company in the country wanted to buy the money-losing business from Bon Secours and it seemed destined to fade into Hoboken memory.

And that's where it should have ended.

But no, Mayor Dave Roberts knows better. He tells us - I didn't notice him ever asking - that we the taxpayers will take over St. Mary. Don't worry, it won't cost a dime! We new owners will get $26 million from the state to cover costs. Guaranteed money from the state? I've heard that one before. And what happens when the $26 million runs out? St. Mary is already $118 million in debt. Bon Secours will actually pay the city to take the hospital off its hands. And now the new administrator is talking about borrowing $65 million to upgrade the place. Do the math!

When state regulators stepped in to say that a city the size of Hoboken can't add such a big potential liability to its budget, Roberts' politico friends decided together in Trenton to rewrite the legislation. They are going to saddle us with this white elephant no matter what.

It's understandable that the politicians don't want to be the ones on duty when St. Mary closes. But they must stop listening just to the people who say save it at any cost because they have a job there, or five generations of their family were born there, or it's pricey to take a cab to Jersey City when your kid breaks his arm.

We are talking about the long-term financial health of Hoboken, and keeping taxes to a manageable level. We cannot have the city government take over every failing business, no matter how long and glorious a history it has. You don't have to be an economist to realize that the health-care industry is fraught with economic peril for anyone who dares to get involved. When indigent people come to St. Mary now and leave without paying, Bon Secours eats it. Next year, it will be the taxpayers of Hoboken eating the unpaid bills.

Let's get real. Too many people in Hoboken don't go there now to give birth, replace a hip, get a bypass operation. And now it's run by a reputable hospital chain. Will that change when City Hall takes over?

Mayor, you don't even send your children to public school here. When they need medical care will you send them to a "Hoboken General" administered by the friends and relatives of the Hudson Democratic machine?

Name withheld

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