|This article appears in the Feb. 23, 2001 issue of Executive Intelligence Review. See also interview with Kenneth Lyons, head of the D.C. Emergency Medical Services Association.
Fight to Save D.C. General Hospital Takes On Evil 'Shareholder Values'by Dennis Speed
"For what doth it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
Since the beginning of the year, three emergency town meetings--"citizens' assemblies"--have been held in Washington, D.C. to address the national emergency embodied in the decision to close the capital's only public full-service hospital: D.C. General. The tone for the meetings was set during the Jan. 3 Washington seminar/webcast by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., during LaRouche's exchange with Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad, Minister of Health of the Nation of Islam, regarding the impending shutdown of D.C. General, which he described as one of the nation's oldest and best medical facilities, and the only hospital serving well over 80,000 Washingtonians who lack medical insurance.
LaRouche replied: "First of all, I think you have to take this as a paradigmatic case, because it's the nation's capital. Therefore, what we do in the nation's capital tells us what we are doing to the nation as a whole, or more. What I would wish were done, would be to repeal the HMO [health maintenance organization] act, and restore the former act, the Hill-Burton, which mandated the purpose of medical care."
Speaking to 100 people during a town meeting on Feb. 8, LaRouche activist Dr. Ernest Schapiro said, "Hill-Burton mandated that, following an inventory by the Federal and local governments of available health facilities, priorities were established to ensure that all Americans would be, as soon as possible, given access to a full range of health care, by building institutions with the necessary hospital beds in every county in the country." Dr. Schapiro and Dr. Muhammad have assembled a growing national circle of physicians, as an emergency task-force to reverse the criminalization of U.S. medicine. Dr. Schapiro continued, that, today, the 1946 Hill-Burton Act is virtually a revolutionary idea, because it is a direct challenge to the "shareholder/slaveholder values" cultural matrix that has come increasingly into the ascendancy with the Confederate, anti-general welfare, economic policy bias of the new administration in Washington.
Contrary to the radical nominalism of Attorney General John Ashcroft, the Founders of our nation did not fight to preserve and protect what Ashcroft refers to as "their sacred fortunes." Rather, the Founders' Preamble to the Constitution includes a clause, "to promote the General Welfare," which was intentionally excised from the Preamble to the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. The General Welfare of the U.S. population, has now become a life-and-death issue, as witnessed by the failure of every feature of the physical economy from the electrical grid to public schools. In Washington, that issue has now taken center stage in the fight to save D.C. General Hospital.
'General Welfare' vs. Crisis Management
Founded in 1806, D.C. General was cited in a recent National Hospital Association report as among the best in the District. Why then, is it being closed? As a former D.C. mayor commented, "It's not a fiscal decision. There's a particular philosophy behind the decision."
LaRouche and his associates have briefed more than 400 D.C. residents at the recent meetings, including doctors, nurses, clergy, trade union activists, elected officials, and educators, as to exactly what this policy is: On Feb. 6, LaRouche spokesman Dennis Speed told 200 persons gathered to oppose the closing of the hospital, "There are two possible policy directions for our nation.... These two directions have no third alternative, no 'third way.'... Either our nation will go the way of Germany 1933, under the Nazis, or it will re-adopt the commitment to the General Welfare clause of the Constitution, adopted as the basis for both foreign and domestic policy during the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administrations of 1932-45." Emergency measures, implemented under the rubric of "crisis-management" echoing what Hitler did in February 1933, would be the future, unless the U.S. population acts in its own behalf, Speed said.
At the town meeting on Feb. 13, speaker Lynne Speed reported to activisits on what the various formal bids being made to run D.C. General--which requires expenditures of $120 million a year to run--on $60 million. She pointed out that Greater Southeast Hospital, which, on Feb. 8, won the bid to take over D.C. General, is owned by an Arizona-based private hospital group that has already shut down two hospitals in the greater Washington area; further, under the already-announced cuts, all Emergency Room service, as well as most long-term care, would be eliminated.
LaRouche recently emphasized to this author, that no plan, other than restoration of 100% of the hospital's capacities, and for expansion of hospital facilities, including new hospital construction, could result in anything other than death. In the accompanying articles, we document that preserving and expanding the services of D.C. General Hospital, far from being a local issue, is a paradigm for the national fight to defend the General Welfare against "shareholder values."