From the Gotham Gazette:
New Yorkers are used to hearing doomsday calls and cries that the closing of this or that institution will cause irreparable harm to the city, and the cynical newsreader often walks away unimpressed, sure that at the end of the day it will be no big deal. But community activists, health care experts and many local officials said, to put it bluntly, that the closing of the St. Vincent’s Hospital is a big deal, and a sign of an intensifying contraction of the already overburdened health-care apparatus in the five boroughs. This, they fear, will lead to chaos, a spike in avoidable fatalities and an inadequate response to a future disaster, natural or otherwise.
Bloomberg's absence from the discussions involving St. Vincent's future has disappointed community groups and unions (3,500 workers would lose their jobs). Stringer, along with Comptroller John Liu and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio -- all of whom are seen as likely mayoral candidates in 2013 -- won applause at the 32BJ meeting by pointing the finger at City Hall, accusing it of inaction.
With the crowd on their side, the officials pleaded for the city to do something.
What? No one knows, and if three mayoral hopefuls cannot offer an alternative to the mayor’s silence, Bloomberg probably cannot do much either. He has already proposed cuts in city services, so a city bailout at this point seems unlikely at best. The reality is that the closing of two hospitals in Queens and the fate of St. Vincent's are not isolated incidents but part of a system failure. All the city’s private hospitals could be threatened by the American notion that health care must generate revenue. That is something a Community Board chair or even a mayor who has made public health one of his top priorities cannot change.