The Economics Of Hospital Beds : Planet Money Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in the nation, has seen everything and survived everything. But even they might not have enough beds. Here's why. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

The Economics Of Hospital Beds

The Economics Of Hospital Beds

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Amanda Aronczyk/NPR
Tents set up outside of Bellevue Hospital.
Amanda Aronczyk/NPR

New York City Health + Hospitals/Bellevue is the oldest public hospital in the country. It's seen everything, survived everything, and been there for every outbreak from yellow fever to Ebola. If you're in New York City and catch something weird, new, and scary — you go to Bellevue.

Yet, even Bellevue may not have enough beds for a crisis like this. Then again, no one hospital does... the result of a policy decision from back before anyone had heard the name COVID-19.

This episode — we look into that logic, the logic of hospital beds, how many there are, and why.

Here are some resources we drew on for this episode:

David Oshinsky's book, "Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital."

Danielle Ofri's New York Times article, "Why Doctors and Nurses Are Anxious and Angry."

Music: "The Soul of Shaolin" and "Two Hearts Collide."

Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts and NPR One.

For more economic news made bite-sized, subscribe to our Newsletter.