Capitalism and health care in America.
I could insert pictures of sick people; people in dire need of medical help, but can’t get it, other than through emergency wards. I could insert tales of people dying because of lack of proper medical help because they’ve been priced out of the health care loop. I could give examples of the dead and dying right here in America because they can’t afford treatment, but I won’t. Instead, I’m going to write about the effect capitalism has had on the health care industry. And believe me, it’s all tied together.
Prior to the sixties, most hospitals were non-profit. You paid actual costs of procedures, doctors made good wages, nurses made acceptable wages, and hospitals were a credit to the community and the health and well being of the people they served. After that, something happened. Hospitals were bought up by individuals and groups with the thought they could be made profitable. Out of that was born the idea health insurance could be a profitable side of many insurance companies. And the cost of health care started to rise, as profits on the sick and dying were seen as a good thing by capitalistic system of America. Business started supplying its employees with health insurance packages in various forms, with some asking the employee to pay part of the cost, others not so much. But all insurance cost the employee in the form of lower wages, etc.. The bottom line was both business and the employee prospered under the system.
But the cost of health care continued to rise to the point both business and the employee started to be hurt by it. Business had the choice of making the employee pay more and more of the cost, or drop it altogether. The employee had the choice of paying the added cost, dropping the insurance if their wages couldn’t cover the cost, or looking for work at a business with better benefits. And that’s basically where we are today. And the driving force behind this maze is profits. When capitalism reared its ugly head in the health industry, it was inevitable this would happen. I’m not against capitalism when applied to most industries, but I am against it when it is applied to health care.
We are the only industrialized nation without universal health care, and one of the very few that allows the industry to profit from health care. In my opinion, the health care industry should not be allowed to profit off the backs of the sick and dying. It is my opinion the health care industry should be allowed a basic rate, paid to keep it in the black, and no more. If the profit motive were removed from the industry, costs would drop, and more people could afford insurance. If the profit motive were subtracted from the equation, pre-existing conditions would not matter to the bottom line. The so-called death panels the Republicans are freaking out over, and which the insurance industry already has in place, would be non-existent. The hired guns of the insurance industry, whose only job is to find reasons not to pay for the insureds procedures, would not be needed.
And my basic problem with the insurance industry, making profits off the sick and dying humans of this great nation, would be solved.
The current bill, passed by the Senate, addresses none of this. In my opinion, it is a sham of a bill that will do nothing to lower costs, and will, in the long run, increase costs to the consumer. And the bottom line there is money talks, and the money is flowing to elected officials by the train load. It’s a sad day for Americans when private industry buys politicians, and the American people lose, and make no mistake about it: with this bill, we lost. The only winners are the usual: insurance, pharmaceuticals, and politicians. Main street America is, again, left holding the empty bag.