I have often thought I have burned out all the absolute rage in my life….sometime after leaving Iraq. I heard a particularly powerful sermon at church on, yes, you guessed it….loving one’s enemies. After tears, contemplation and talking to the pastor…the last of the burning rage I felt… left me. But I felt an ominous stirring of the old rage, because of it. What is “it”? A story that illustrates actual evil, made possible by regulation.

A bit of background – I am from the city of Rockford. I grew up there in the 1970s and 1980s, when it went from a stodgy, stolid middle class town based on tool and die and specialty industry (and the band Cheap Trick!) the second largest city in Illinois….to a shrinking, crumbling city, fighting as hard as it can to hold on. The city had three hospitals – my father worked at one of them (not the one hurt in this story). So I was pleasantly surprised to hear the old home town had a hospital that was going to build:

The health system unveiled plans in April for a four-story, $70 million structure to serve women and children that would include an intensive care unit upgraded to the highest-rated level of care for newborns. Other upgrades would include the addition of 10 psychiatric beds, an expansion of the emergency department, and additions to the surgery and catheterization lab areas of the hospital.

But, we cannot have an increase in the ability to heal the sick, care for the newborn or the mentally ill!  Heavens no!

“The applicants have exceeded the State standard size requirements” for six of 14 expansion-development areas, according to review board documents. Those areas include a nursery, emergency and surgery departments, medical-surgical inpatient unit, cath-angiography unit, and neonatal intensive care unit.

This was a shock, since:

The board in June OK’d SwedishAmerican’s plan to develop the highest-level neonatal intensive care unit, which is expected to open in the hospital’s current tower location in 2019, Kirby said. The plan is to relocate it to the new women’s and children’s tower. The board is “asking for a resubmission of our modernization project, which includes our women’s and children’s tower plan,” Kirby said.

There was no written opposition to SwedishAmerican’s expansion plan and no public testimony in opposition. More than two dozen supporters formally backed the plan, including City Council members and other elected officials.

Oh, and…

In 2015, the board approved Mercyhealth’s request to build a 188-bed hospital on 263 acres in far east Rockford. Construction is underway on the $505 million project.

OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford is adding 78 single-patient rooms as part of an $85 million expansion expected to be completed in spring 2018.

So how in the absolute rage inducing Hell could this vital boost to a hurting city get stopped? Why, politics, of course!

The “how” – we see what many libertarians have railed against, Illinois has a “Certificate of Need” law. Want to punch a wall while screaming in rage, vomiting and crying at the same time?  Check this little intro out:

The Health Facilities Planning Act (Act) (20 ILCS 3960), established Illinois’ certificate of need (CON) program. The CON program promotes the development of a comprehensive health care delivery system that assures the availability of quality facilities, related services, and equipment to the public, while simultaneously addressing the issues of community need, accessibility, and financing. In addition, it encourages health care providers to engage in cost containment, better management and improved planning.

No, you sanctimonious shitheels, it allows you to stop people from building hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other useful things, so you can protect established players in the field from competition. Period.

So, if nobody “publicly” spoke out in opposition…how did this get beat (for now)? Well, you need 5 of 7 members voting to approve. In our case here:

Members Present: Chair, Kathy Olson; Senator Deanna Demuzio; Joel Johnson; John McGlasson, Sr.; Marianne E. Murphy; Richard Sewell
Member Absent: Senator Brad Burzynski

So there were only 6 present – Senator Brad Burzynski happened to skip out. Now why would he do that? Maybe, just maybe a good friend of his, Senator Dave Syverson, asked him to skip out? Gosh, why would he want a member to miss the meeting, and reduce the available votes? Maybe take a peek at his biography. See something at the bottom of the page…

 He also serves on the Mercyhealth System Board

My oh my…on the board of a competitor health system?!  I am shocked, shocked to find this out! He also just may have asked backers of the plan to withdraw their support, so I was told.

So who voted “no”? The record does not say, and the reporter I conversed with has tried to find out, with numerous calls unreturned. Maybe the chair, who happens to be on staff at local clinic? So why would it matter that she was on the staff of another local provider (other than obvious competition concerns)? Oh, lookie here!

I am in touch with a reporter (I am going to leave names out for this for now) and will do my best to find out the exact no votes. Right now this is only educated guesswork on my part. But I sure seem to have found some terrible looking coincidences, eh?

But no matter the who, and the why – the very existence of something like the “Certificate of Need” is a monstrous evil, serving only to hurt.