“Fifteen days to flatten curve” was all about making sure we didn’t run out of hospital beds for sick people, whether they had COVID or something else.
In the heat of those panicky early days of the pandemic, Congress passed (and President Donald Trump signed) the unprecedented $2.2 trillion-with-a-T Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).
Among the law’s many, many very, very expensive provisions was $100,000,000,000 (that’s one million dollars, one hundred thousand times) “designed to provide an influx of money to hospitals and other health care entities responding to the coronavirus pandemic.”
That’s according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which also notes that “averages out to about $108,000 per hospital bed in the United States.”
Guess what we got for our money?
Would you believe… fewer hospital beds? Of course you would.
It seems like only earlier today I was writing about how Anthony “Doctor” Fauci’s NIAID blew $205,000 turning monkeys transgender, so I suppose we should be happy the damage was limited to six figures and some small number of monkeys.
Kaiser argued at the time that “this $100 billion fund could provide crucial and timely support.”
In case that chart is too small to easily read, the US currently has about 50,000 fewer staffed hospital beds right now than we had in 2020.
Norwood added, “I wish someone would ask Psaki what happened to all that CARES money to bolster hospital capacity.”
But wait. From there it gets really weird:
Two hospitals that I am familiar with have closed over 50% of their ICU beds due to staffing issues. So they now report their ICU’s are at or beyond 100% capacity. See how this works?
— Marky (@Marky_1022) January 10, 2022
Not one to take an anecdote as data, I looked into hospitals closing ICUs or reducing bed counts.
- The Geary Community Hospital director of Human Services, LJ Baker, announced Monday that the hospital is unable to continue to operate the Intensive Care Unit because of the cost and nursing shortages.
- Staffing Strain Causes Hospitals to Temporarily Close Maternity, ICU Units.
- When comparing a recent four-day stretch to a similar one from December 2020, staffed ICU beds dropped by 18% in the region covering Will and Kankakee counties in Illinois, meaning nearly 30 fewer ICU beds are staffed now than a year ago.
I could go on, but you get the point: We spent a hundred thousand million dollars we didn’t have on increased medical services we didn’t get.
Worse, staffing shortages — caused in large part by vaccine mandates for wary frontline medical workers — have forced hospitals to actually reduce the number of staffed hospital beds.
So where did all the money go?