Episode

2/2 Private Equity Vultures Descend On U.S. Healthcare w/ Laura Katz Olson

February 2, 2023

Emma hosts Laura Katz Olson, professor of Political Science at Lehigh University, to discuss her recent book Ethically Challenged: Private Equity Storms U.S. Healthcare. First, Emma runs through updates on the Fed approving another interest hike as they continue their push against labor, Biden and McCarthy’s unsurprisingly unproductive debt ceiling meeting, the GOP’s ousting of Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, the College Board removing myriad Black authors from their AP AfAm syllabus, protests in France and the UK, and the US upping their military presence in the Philippines as they wrap up tensions with China, before diving into the incoming House Budget Chair’s concerning statements on the GOP’s targets for debt ceiling cuts. Professor Laura Katz Olson then joins as she dives right into the deregulation of the 1970s and ’80s which saw a huge influx of money into the junk bond industry, and opened up the economy to much broader investments into private equity and venture capitalism, beginning a period of corporate raiding and butchering by these firms, taking prospering companies, chopping costs to pay off debt, and then selling them off as a shell of their former selves. Professor Katz Olson then walks Emma through the contrast between the perspective we were sold on private equity by the neoliberal pioneers, that they come in and save struggling companies, with their actual practice of relying on the income of prosperous companies to pay off the debt of their own acquisition, before expanding on private equity’s recent entrance into the world of medical care, seeing the vast income in the healthcare industry as the perfect tool to rake up profits from the working class, in a comparable manner to their takeover of the Dental industry in the 1990s. Stepping back, Laura Katz Olson parses through the playbook of private equity and their reliance on Non-Disclosure Agreements and Non-Disparagement clauses to keep their destructive practices under wraps, as their cost-cutting practices inevitably break down the capacity of the company to function by piling more and more responsibility on workers. Wrapping up, Profesor Katz Olson discusses the specific impact this process has on medical care, which works along the lines of life and death, and how venture capitalists are stepping into Medicare and Medicaid-funded care to rip dollars from our taxes. Emma concludes the free half by reflecting on Ilhan Omar’s response to being ousted from the Foreign Affairs Committee, her role as one of the few Representatives willing to question corporations, and what this loss means moving forwards.

And in the Fun Half: Emma is joined by Brandon Sutton and Matt Binder as they assess the absurd discourse about whether non-consensual porn of someone is okay, the beginnings of the multi-millionaire class truly separating themselves from humanity, and Casey from Tennessee dives into Memphis’ history of police abuses against its Black population. Denis Prager has a moral panic about the left starting moral panics about the right’s moral panics about… before the MR Crew also touches on DeSantis’ attempt to undermine Florida’s big liberal arts college, AJ from Chicago discusses Crowder’s sexual revelations, and Marjorie Taylor Greene demands to get to the root of why elementary schools individually received billions in COVID money for “diversity.” Mark the Barb from Buffalo discusses his escape from Jordan Peterson’s ideology, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Laura’s book here: https://www.press.jhu.edu/books/title/12719/ethically-challenged

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