According to a New York Times investigation, private equity firms have increasingly taken over a wide array of civic services, including emergency care and firefighting services. The investigation detailed examples where private equity takeovers of such services led to slower ambulance response times, failing equipment, and residents even being temporarily left without critical services. Apparently, caring for individuals in their most vulnerable moments is not always congruent with maximizing profits.
While cities are generally required to offer citizens a free education, and typically provide a police force, almost all other services are fair game for privatization. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, as cities and towns struggled with budgetary shortcomings, private equity gained significant power and responsibility for basic public infrastructure and ambulatory services. Although the Times investigation points out many of the real risks involved in privatization, one could argue that without this infusion of capital, such localities would be in very dire straits. And the tension between budgetary constraints and providing optimal emergency services is not limited to private entities.
What do you think: Are taxpayers more likely to receive inferior services when emergency medical services are outsourced to private companies?
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