Queen's University — Since 1873
17th January 2012

Rich girl

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Blue Ivy Carter entered the world like most celebrity babies, with a unique name and her own million dollar hospital wing.

The special treatment her parents, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, received at the hospital has stirred up controversy about equal access to health care.

Reports since the Jan. 7 birth of baby Blue haven’t been flattering to Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who reportedly paid Lenox Hill Hospital to tear down between six and eight rooms to build a two-room deluxe birthing suite.

Many parents have publicly complained that the couple’s huge security team blocked them from seeing their babies in the neonatal intensive care unit and that security put black tape over hospital windows to blind prying eyes.

At first, the hospital dismissed claims that new parents were prevented from accessing their children in favour of providing security to Beyoncé and Jay-Z, but the NY Daily News reported that hospital officials are now conducting an investigation.

Whether these reports are true or not, the bigger issue comes from comments made by New York City Mayor Bloomberg who defended privatized health care.

 “If [the hospital] got paid a lot of money and it let them provide services to other people who don’t have insurance or can’t afford it, I’m not so sure it’s a bad thing,” he was quoted at a Jan. 10 press conference by the New York Times. “I don’t think you should keep people from seeing their babies, or whatever, but have different services for people [who] are full-paying patients.”

No amount of money makes it okay to deny new parents access to their newborn babies, “or whatever.”

Bloomberg makes it seem like we all need rich benefactors like Beyoncé and Jay-Z to help us pay for our medical bills.

It’s not as though Beyoncé and Jay-Z donated this money to the hospital out of the goodness of their hearts — they did it so they could get special services that most expecting parents can’t afford.

It’s unacceptable that hospitals provide this sort of decadent service to expecting parents.

These special services reinforce class boundaries in the U.S., separating those who can only afford a normal birth from those privileged few who can pay for a million dollar birthing suite.

Bloomberg’s comments and rich parents like Beyoncé and Jay-Z make universal health care seem insufficient. Private health care has its benefits, but I’d rather have the same health care as everyone else than put my needs above another’s.

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