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December 8, 2023

Letter: Hazel Hawkins buyer needs ‘skin in the game’

Re: Board still in talks with potential partners, Free Lance, Oct. 6, 2023

Looks like “Bargain hunting now.” Where were these potential partners before the bankruptcy declaration? Imagine that! Before there were none; now three parties are interested: American Advanced Management, Salinas Valley Memorial and a third announced but unidentified. This is capitalism doing its thing: making profit from health care; but should a group agreement arranged to provide health for all be profitable?

I like the expression, “Having skin in the game.” I like to use it because it applies to certain situations where it seems to fit. I really do not know the precise meaning or how it came about but I can guess. Perhaps within a group of men throwing dice and wagering on the throw one man came to take a risk and bet on a certain throw. When he lost he wanted to continue betting and continue with dice throws. Eventually he won a throw but his hands were red from the friction of rolling dice. He lost hand skin, making a saying of, “having skin in the game” seem to mean making winning very important by also willing to take a risk.

Knowing that having skin in the game and taking a calculated risk could apply in our bankrupt hospital situation, we understand better now how three potential partners appear after a bankruptcy. They could be very interested in bargains making profit much easier. Another well known but hidden fact is that private health insurance has a 30% cost of overhead while Medicare has only a 4% cost of overhead.

It seems that now we see bargain hunters. The board members must demand that potential partners put plenty of “skin in the game” because we taxpayers are the ones with the most “skin in the game.”  

Eventually and hopefully, healthcare should not be in a market economy. Healthcare needs to be out of profit making and into providing healthcare for all provided by all.

Mary Zanger


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