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The U.S. Transhumanist Party Proposal for Widespread Hospital Construction: Now Is the Time to Act – Article by Mike Diverde

The U.S. Transhumanist Party Proposal for Widespread Hospital Construction: Now Is the Time to Act – Article by Mike Diverde

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Mike Diverde


When U.S. Transhumanist Party (USTP) Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II proposed widespread hospital construction in the United States, I thought it was a good idea, but I felt that it was unlikely to become reality, due to the incredible costs involved. I didn’t think that there would be much political support for that effort. I didn’t see any way to make progress on this, primarily because the USTP is a very small party. However, this pandemic has sharply focused attention on the dearth of hospital capacity in the United States. The USTP led the way in March 2020 with Article VI, Section XCVIII, of the Constitution of the United States Transhumanist Party. Naturally, motivating both the Democrats and the Republicans to support our plan is going to be necessary.

I have recently heard two Democrats expounding at length about the need to spend more money in bolstering our healthcare system. (I’ll include extensive quotes later on.)

In addition, I have recently heard Trump at his press conference stating that he is having discussions with the Democrats on infrastructure spending. Constructing hospitals definitely falls in the category of infrastructure improvement.

So at least as long as this pandemic has the attention of the American people, there is a possibility – a realistic possibility – that our platform plank could be adopted by both the Democrats and Republicans and be implemented.

First, I went and looked for some background facts. I don’t have any idea what’s going on in American hospitals. But I knew that there had to be some relatively basic data on hospitals and the American population. (I’m going to state the round numbers here. I will include details and web links later.)

Consider the time period basically between 1980 and 2020: 40 years in America. The total number of hospitals in the United States in 1980 was approximately 7,000. Today the number of hospitals is approximately 5,500. So there has been an elimination of 1,500 hospitals over the 40-year period under consideration. The population of America in 1980 was 220 million. The population of America in 2020 is 330 million. America has increased in population by 50%, but the number of hospitals to care for those people has declined by 20%.

Now this does not indicate whether or not there is a sufficient number of hospitals to have a surge capacity for an epidemic. This just indicates that we have far fewer hospitals per capita than we had 40 years ago. The real question is: how many should we have?

Now I want to draw a parallel with a completely different item. When the Army Corps of Engineers started working on controlling American rivers to prevent the catastrophic flooding that had occurred from time to time, they developed a yardstick in which they estimated a 500-year flood, and a 200-year flood, and a 100-year flood, and a 50-year flood. And they use those estimates of some worst-case scenarios to properly design the dams and levees for the rivers in America.

I’m going to suggest that we need similar yardsticks for American hospitals. Now these yardsticks would take experts years of study to prepare properly. I’m going to make one up for illustrative purposes and then compare it to the yardstick in the USTP platform. The USTP used this yardstick in Section XCVIII: one new hospital per 50,000 people. This yields 6,600 new hospitals as a goal in the US today. There are about 5,500 hospitals in the US today, which means that we would have a total of 12,100 hospitals if this plan were implemented. Alternatively, I am going to speculate that at a minimum we need to have the same quantity of hospitals per capita that we did in 1980. That may not be sufficient but let’s use that as a yardstick to continue this discussion. If I use the same per capita ratio as 1980 that calculation yields 10,000 hospitals. There are about 5,500 hospitals in the US today, which means that we would need to build 4,500 new hospitals. This indicates that the range of construction in the US may be between 4,500 and 6,600 new hospitals.

And a side note here: when I talk about hospitals, the discussion must include surge capacity for beds, and ventilators, and test kits, and personnel, etc. The plan needs to include everything that supports the hospital. This is not just a construction project. This is a plan to protect Americans in the event of an epidemic.

The goal here is to propose to Democrats that the health and welfare of the American citizens is at risk without more hospitals, and it is clear that low-income minority populations not only have been underserved by the quantity of hospitals, but are also more at risk of being seriously ill during epidemics due to the lower quality of healthcare that they can avail themselves of currently.

The goal here is to propose to Republicans that the way to get the economy revved up is to do infrastructure spending, and that the construction of hospitals across America will be good for all businesses.

The goal here is to indicate to both Democratic and Republican Senators and Representatives that they would be able to provide to their local citizens thousands of excellent construction jobs and healthcare positions, while also delivering 10 new hospitals per Representative and a variable number of hospitals per Senator. (I can already hear the screaming from some libertarians about pork-barrel wasteful government spending, but perhaps others will be more far-sighted.)

I believe that this is an investment not only in the American economy but also an investment in our health and longevity.
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Here are some very recent comments from prominent politicians on these critical issues.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday, April 24th, 2020:

“Plan on a reopening and not just reopening what was. We went through this horrific experience. It should be a period of growth. It should be a period of reflection. If we’re smart, and we use it that way, there are lessons to learn here. If we’re smart, and we have the courage to look in the mirror. We went through 9/11. We were the smarter for it. We went through World War II. We were the better for it. We went through superstorm Sandy. We learned. We grew. We were the better for it. We should do the same thing here. People are totally changing their lifestyle. What did we learn? How do we have a better health care system that can actually handle public health emergencies? How do we have a better transportation system? How do we have a smarter telemedicine system? How do we use technology and education better? Why do some children have to go to a parking lot to get Wi-Fi to do their homework? How do we … learn from this, and how do we grow?”

On Friday, April 24th, 2020, Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary, appeared on the Wall Street Week program on Bloomberg TV, and he had this to say about how the American federal government is spending money:

“The really important thing that we need to spend macro money on is the micro health issues. This thing is costing us 80 billion dollars a week – more than 10 billion dollars a day. Anything that we do that accelerates the pace at which the economy can reopen, that creates some more normal environment more quickly, will pay for itself many times over. But we’re not throwing money at every possible approach to testing. We’re not simultaneously building the manufacturing capacity for tests or vaccines that might work, but we don’t know yet. What we need to do is spend money that we know some of it will end up being wastefully spent, so that we’re ready to go with anything that works: a vaccine; a treatment; a test for evaluating. And we’re just not spending money in that kind of way. We’re throwing infinite amounts of money at leveraged firms that are overlevered and are having a tough time right now, but we are underinvesting on a very large scale in the health investments. The truth is the highest payoff health investments in moving the economy forward aren’t in stimulating the economy – they’re in bringing forth the necessary health infrastructure in terms of tests, contact tracing, treatments, and ultimately vaccines. And that’s where we should be heavily investing and concentrating, and we’re not just we’re not doing it. It’s business as usual. It’s the fact that we underspent on pandemic preparation. That is why we’re in this catastrophic mess, and we still haven’t gotten past the error of underinvesting in health relative to other things. Think about it this way. If we move this forward by one day, the extra tax revenue that will feed into the government budget will be more than $3 billion dollars. At that price, how could we not be investing in every possible experiment and parallel processing everything, knowing that even if we have some redundancy, even if we have some waste, it will be small compared to the benefits.”

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If there are some Transhumanists who see merit in the approach that I have outlined, I would like to discuss how this USTP platform plank can actually be implemented. We should engage the dominant political parties to get them to do what we know we need.

I believe that this is an investment not only in the American economy, but also an investment in our health and superlongevity.

Weblinks

U.S. Transhumanist Party Website: https://transhumanist-party.org/

American Hospital Association. Fast Facts on U.S. Hospitals, 2020: https://www.aha.org/statistics/fast-facts-us-hospitals 

John Elflein. Number of all hospitals in the U.S. from 1975 to 2017. https://www.statista.com/statistics/185843/number-of-all-hospitals-in-the-us-since-2001/

Erin Duffin. Resident population of the United States from 1980 to 2019. https://www.statista.com/statistics/183457/united-states–resident-population/

Notes

1. Number of hospitals in 1980: 6965.
Number of hospitals in 2016: 5534.
6965 – 5534 = 1431 fewer hospitals. 1431/6965 = 0.205 = 20.5% decrease in hospitals in the US.
{Source: John Elflein 2019 on statista.com}.

2. US population in 1980: 226,500,000.
US population in 2019: 328,200,000. 328,200,000 – 226,500,000 = 101,700,000 more Americans. 101,700,000 / 226,500,000 = .449 = 45% increase in the US population.
{Source: Erin Duffin 2020 on statista.com}.

3. Per capita hospital ratios.
1980: 226,500,000 people / 6965 hospitals = 32,500 p/h 2020: 328,200,000 people / 5534 hospitals = 59,300 p/h.
Find number of hospitals needed in 2020 to have same p/h ratio as 1980. 328,200,000 p / 32,500 p/h = 10,000 hospitals. 10,000 required – 5500 existing = 4500 new hospitals required.