Perhaps we take it for granted from time to time, that sprawling campus in Cooperstown. Fox Hospital, too, in Oneonta, and all the clinics and centers and caregiver offices filling the map in Otsego County.
In a nation whose rural regions are often challenged by a lack of access to quality health care or relegated to satellite status dozens of miles away from even the nearest emergency clinic, we’re fortunate indeed.
Fortunate that 100 years ago this week, the doors opened on a hospital in the Village of Cooperstown, named after Dr. Mary Imogene Bassett to honor her steadfast dedication to caring for the people of her rural county. Fortunate, too, that Edward Severin Clark made building the hospital a philanthropic priority, that his brother, Stephen Clark, reopened its doors in 1927 as a medical, research, and teaching hospital, and that the Clark family and Scriven Foundation have, in the 10 decades intervening, kept Bassett and the communities it serves foremost in their work.
A century ago, there was no such thing as a “healthcare industry.” Messrs. Edward and Stephen Clark and the doctors with whom they worked at the time could not have foreseen the seismic changes that would overhaul local, regional, and national health care many times over in the decades to come. Predictive sciences and artificial intelligence available today may give us a better idea of what’s on or over the horizon, but the model the hospital’s founders created in the 1920s remains a foundation for whatever is to come.
Today’s healthcare industry is exactly that – out of necessity, a big business that to stay afloat must be flexible, forward-thinking, and growth-oriented. Bassett – once a standalone hospital in the southeastern corner of the Village – could not be immune from those changes if it was to survive. To thrive and continue to serve our rural population, it had to expand to what we now know as the more corporate-sounding Bassett Healthcare Network.
Business smarts and resiliency aren’t even the half of it, though – a healthcare network, in the end, succeeds only when the communities it serves believe and trust in it. It’s a deeply personal and emotional experience for each individual who walks through the door of a clinic, an office, an emergency room. Bassett succeeds. A big business, perhaps, but one with a small town feel that respects its rural roots.
“There are two things that strike me as Bassett’s greatest assets today,” Bassett Healthcare Network President and CEO Dr. Tommy Ibrahim said in a statement to The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta. “The first is this sure foundation provided by Mary Imogene Bassett and our other founders. The second is the hard work, dedication, and excellence of our caregivers and practitioners as they build on that foundation.”
We agree, and we applaud Dr. Ibrahim and his predecessors, the Clark Family, the Scriven Foundation, board members, staff, caregivers, and practitioners past and present throughout the Bassett Healthcare Network who have served us for the past century. It’s a hard-won achievement that can’t rest on the laurels we toss in their direction today, but it is a legacy and a future that we do not take for granted and for which we are genuinely grateful.
Congratulations on winning the Democratic nomination for Congress in New York’s 19th Congressional District.
You’ve got a tough fight ahead against a smooth and wily opponent. I’m one of many who would like to see Representative John Faso defeated. He is a bought and paid for ex-lobbyist with big hardcore far right support.
The Mercer family, investors in Breitbart News and supporters of Steve Bannon, gave a half-million dollars to the pro-Faso PAC “New York Wins” in the last election, helping put him over the top.
All told, the Mercers spent over $25 million in 2016 supporting far-right candidates PACs, and organizations across the country, including New York State. Their agenda of radical privatization requires the destruction of public institutions and entitlement programs. That means lowering the standard of living for most people while concentrating wealth in fewer and fewer hands.
The Mercers are the .001 percent, and Faso is the guy they’ve hired to represent us in the 19th CD in
All that ought to be a slam-dunk for the Democrats, but not unless they act on it. This is an opportunity for you, Mr. Delgado, to take up the challenge. Faso needs to be called out on his right-wing, pro-corporate, anti-people agenda.
The Democratic leadership unfortunately has enabled, even embraced, much of that agenda. Beginning with the Clinton years, they abandoned labor unions and sided with corporations, supporting trade agreements that outsourced jobs, and tax breaks that favored corporate development over public service.
They continue “to talk the talk” about fighting for their constituents, but they no longer “walk the walk.”
You and the Democrats aren’t going to win this election by supporting a status quo that is working for fewer and fewer people. Defending the status quo is Faso’s job, not yours. You need to challenge the system, not claim that you can work it better than he can, or that it’s not so bad.
You have to show voters that Faso is the local agent responsible for people’s growing insecurity.
You need to expose the sham property-tax reduction he tried to pawn off on voters by gutting local healthcare funding. You need to alert voters to his duplicity in
voting to repeal Obamacare, after promising otherwise – something he’s likely to do on Social Security and other entitlements.
You need to remind voters of his support for deregulating Wall Street and destabilizing the economy.
And then there’s Trump. He’s a demagogue who’s been left free to exploit the insecurities and fears of the people whom the Democrats have left behind, and Faso seems 100-percent behind that.
Trump and Faso’s agenda is the same as the Mercers’: Privatize everything in sight.
You’ve got to do what other Democrats haven’t done. They have not attacked the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, the culprits blocking the kind of universal, affordable healthcare enjoyed by citizens of almost all other developed countries.
They have not broken up monopolistic corporations, whether it’s Amazon, the Wall Street banks, Google, or Walmart, which collectively have killed off small business, the backbone of the economy.
The Democratic leadership has not fought to reduce military spending, which is funding immoral wars abroad and bankrupting our government, while sucking up tax money that should go to social services and infrastructure.
They have done little to get us off fossil fuels and onto renewables, allowing for the acceleration of greenhouse gases and the destabilization of theclimate.
And they have completely failed to get money out of politics, leaving us stuck with a corrupt, pay-to-play system, for which Faso could be the poster boy.
You don’t want to be part of those failed strategies.
If you fudge on these issues, you’ll lose; if you face up
to them, you have a chance to win.
But there’s an even bigger challenge. There’s little doubt that the benefits of American imperialism since World War II have run their course. Globalization led by unrestrained corporate power is no longer a tide that lifts all boats. It only lifts the yachts.
We can no longer economically dominate Europe and Asia, nor can we afford our massive global military machine.
Those days are over.
If globalization has a future, and I hope it does, it has to be more inclusive economically. In the meantime, America must figure out its own identity in a new, multi-polar world.
Now is the time to put our own house in order, and rethink what we’re doing. We need a new definition of American Exceptionalism, one that rejects racism, bigotry and narcissism in the name of a common understanding of the deepest American principles: democratic accountability, Constitutional rule, economic justice, and the greatest possible liberty that’s consistent with mutual respect.
Then we can redefine our place in the world. The Republicans aren’t going to do that, but you might. It could be our last chance.
Adrian Kuzminski, retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and Sustainable Otsego moderator, lives in Fly Creek.