August 1, 2012

Former Army Captain Says If Hospitals Behaved Like For-Profit Colleges, Execs Would Be In Jail

At a press conference Monday, Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA), flanked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), unveiled a new report looking at the abuses against students by the for-profit college industry, which is largely subsidized by the taxpayer with few strings attached.

In recent months, abuses against veterans in particular have come to light. Thus one of the speakers at the event was the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s (IAVA) Tom Tarantino. Tarantino served 10 years in the U.S. Army, reached the rank of captain, and was awarded the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star for service in Iraq. He works on policy issues for IAVA.

Tarantino excoriated the industry, noting that if hospitals subsidized by public dollars behaved similarly, their employees would end up on death row:

TARANTINO: Earlier, a couple weeks ago, I was asked by a Senator in an open hearing, about why should we regulate for-profit schools. He made this comparison to for-profit hospitals. He said, “Well, should we regulate for-profit hospitals, because we put a lot of money into them?” And I thought it was a little strange. Because it seems like kind of a weird thing to ask. Because I think he was just trying to throw me off balance. It didn’t particularly work, but it was a good try. But I actually started thinking about it. And when I think about it, if we applied the same success rate to the hospitals that we applied to for-profit schools, you know what, we wouldn’t be asking for regulations. Because we’d be putting people in jail. People would be on death row, if hospitals killed 50 to 70 percent of patients.

Watch Tarantino’s speech above and read more about how veterans’ benefits are being used to prop up the profits of the for-profit college industry without providing a decent education here.