: you said "In 1985 the operation of the hospital (through the Board of Supervisors & without voter approval) turned over"
: If they were able to do this without consultation / voting by the people you said were its owners - the community - then the proprety right (the right to dispose of it) did not lie with the community. If it had then legal recourse would have been appropriate and the transacation would have been nullified because the authority of the supervisors did not extend to this.
: If their authority did extend to this, then why?
Well, this is getting away from the point of the original post which was that privatizing our hospital has resulted in a loss of quality care. As it happens the current Healthcare District Board is sueing to nullify the private lease arrangement but this is a long and sordid story containing the usual greed, corruption, and conflict of interest - but with a twist in that a local grass-roots group came out of nowhere to force a successful re-call election of two board members challenged with conflict of interest.
The real point is (as presented by SDF in his post below) that when decisions regarding healthcare are dictated by concern for profit, the "triage" choice becomes: "Do I provide the expensive drug, the specialist, the extra day on maternity ward, or do I pocket that "saved" expense." This is the simple "conflict of interest" faced by HMO's. They are given, essentially through insurance premium allowances, a given amount to work with. The less they have to pay out in service, the more they get to keep in profits. This is why you are finding more and more cases of horror stories like these. Note too that the vast majority of such horrors are born by the poor.