PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Protesters are fighting again to save Hahnemann University Hospital and on Monday, they’ll get some high-profile help from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. An intense local battle over Hahnemann University Hospital is expected to erupt into the national political stage on Monday, when Sanders will be in Philadelphia adding his voice to a growing chorus of those condemning the hospital’s closure by its parent company.
Sanders has said health care should be a guaranteed right for all Americans.
The Vermont senator spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News on Sunday about the looming situation.
“It’s insane. If you look at this thing objectively and you say that in the midst of a health care crisis, a hospital is being converted into a real estate opportunity in order to make some wealthy guy even more money, ignoring the health care needs of thousands of people, that is pretty crazy,” Sanders said. “And that is why, among other things, we need a health care system in this country designed to provide health care to all people, not to make huge profits for insurance companies, drug companies or real estate developers.”
Sanders says he stands with the unions and physicians and the nurses at the hospital trying to save it.
More than 2,000 jobs are predicted to be lost.
The hospital is navigating Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in Delaware federal court.
Hahnemann Hospital stopped all non-emergency surgeries and procedures, including child deliveries, on July 12.
Meanwhile the city continues to try and derail the hospital’s closure through court filings.
“Well, I talked to [Mayor Jim Kenney] the other day and we have talked to city council people and we have talked to the unions,” Sanders said, “and I know that there’s deep concern and I know that local people are doing everything they can. But I think what people have got to do, not only in Philadelphia – hospitals are being shut down all over this country – is to stand up and say health care needs have got to be the first priorities, not huge profits for real estate developers.”
A spokesperson for Hahnemann University Hospital said the hospital has no comment at this time.