Open Letter To Lakewood Residents
Lakewood Friends and Family,
There are many in Lakewood concerned about not having a full-service hospital in the city. There are others upset about the loss of Lakewood's largest employer and the millions in lost tax revenue. However, this didn’t move me to get involved. However, when I saw what was really happening behind the scenes… I quickly became an activist for this cause.
When it came to closing the Lakewood Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic saw an opportunity to save money and increase profits. For them, there are simply too many Medicare and Medicaid recipients in and near Lakewood. Too many senior citizens and single mothers. Too many people working two or even three jobs to make ends meet without any healthcare benefits. Too many under-insured young people, just starting out on their own (and I was one of them.) The Cleveland Clinic views these groups as liabilities. They'd much rather move the capacities of Lakewood Hospital to Fairview and Avon, where they are likely to increase Clinic profit margins.
While working for Senator Bernie Sanders, during his presidential bid, this is what we fought against. The rich and the powerful seeking higher profits at the expense of those who can least afford it. When, in actuality, our diversity is our strength.
What is happening, here in our community, is symptomatic of a larger problem. PROFITS are coming before PEOPLE. We are moving away from more accessible healthcare; in the complete opposite direction of the equal access, single-payer healthcare that the rest of the developed world enjoys.
This year, Lakewood City Council has placed an issue (Issue 64) on the November ballot to affirm their decision to close Lakewood Hospital. Astonishingly, the Cleveland Clinic went even further and added a non-compete clause to Issue 64. If the issue passes, it would effectively BAN any future hospital facility to prevent future Clinic competition and further limit Lakewood's healthcare options. YET AGAIN, the Clinic puts profits before patients.
To add insult to injury, their main argument has been...
"It's over, suck it up; we lost the hospital… Now, vote to affirm it." …This is akin to a school bully taking your lunch money, and the teacher telling you, "Make sure you tell that bully thank you, on your way out!"
This is why I am voting AGAINST ISSUE 64 this November 8th. For me, Issue 64 is not about getting a hospital back; I do not know if we will get our lunch money back from the school bully... but I WILL NOT thank him for taking it!
For us, now, this is about standing up and saying ENOUGH is ENOUGH. We do not want to be bullied now or ever again, in this way. I do not approve of what has happened here in my city. I do not like the manner in which this was done. We do not want to repeat this saga in the future. Thus, I am voting AGAINSTIssue 64.
Operations Director, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus
Link to story on ccpc site: http://www.cuycpc.org/open_letter
Tristan Rader worked in the non-profit sector including starting including the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and founding a non-profit in Africa. In 2015 he finished his MPA at Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State and continued his studies at the Harvard Kenedy School of Government - Executive Education program. He then joined Sen. Sanders staff and worked on his presidential bid. After returning home he managed a Congressional campaign and became one of the founding directors of Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus where he currently serves as Operations Director. He also works for MoveOn.org as a Campaign Organizer.