For-profit medicine is a national sickness
July 29, 2009 by William K. Wolfrum
When my Mom was diagnosed with leukemia, the one thing I didn’t need to worry about was the cost. My parents have long had good health insurance, and have long saved as much money as they could to prepare for the eventuality of illness. Prior to her death, my Mom received as good of treatment as she could have gotten to fight the insidious cancer that finally took her life.
Still, even though my parents had a golden parachute of health insurance and savings, there were times they even had to scrimp – especially with some of the medicines prescribed to her running in the range of $2,000 per prescription. Then they’d either purchase half a prescription, or look for a cheaper alternative.
I rest comfortably knowing that my Mom fought as hard as she could and received good medical care. At the cost of thousands of dollars out of their pockets, of course. This is what keeps me up at nights. Through my Mom’s entire ordeal, one line stuck in my mind – For-profit health care is a national illness.
As health care has taken center stage in the national dialogue, that line continues to reverberate in my mind. My parents worked their whole lives, almost solely for the purpose to afford dying. And make no mistake about it, my parents are most definitely “haves” in a nation rapidly becoming easily defined as “haves” and “have nots.”
While my Mom was living and I’d spend time with her at various hospitals, I got to hear many stories of people struggling with health care bills. Because everyone is in the same boat as my parents, but not so many have the financial wherewithal to come out of a massive medical situation without finding themselves in financial turmoil.
As President Barack Obama’s health care plan has been revised, rewritten and demonized, it has become increasingly clear that the status quo will remain. Insurance companies will be repaid for their investments in trying to kill the bill, and will continue to profit wildly. Millions and millions of Americans will continue to either be uninsured or be under-insured.
A health care reform bill will eventually be passed – Obama will make sure of that. But with insurance companies still in the mix, Americans will continue to work their entire lives to give away their nest eggs to them.
Health care in the United States is still something that angers me. Is the U.S. so determined to be a pure capitalist society that the idea of taking away ill-gotten profits from insurance companies means we’ve become socialist? Why is Universal Health care considered such a crime against humanity in the U.S.? Are we all that proud of living in a nation where the health of an American citizen solely depends on profit margin?
All I can say is that I know there is someone driving a new car, paid for by my Mom’s suffering. And that others are living in big houses with obscene bank accounts, all paid for by the sick and dying. It is obscene and inhuman.
For-Profit medicine is a national sickness in the United States. And for this, there is only one cure – single-payer. And thanks to politicians on both sides of the aisle doing their masters’ bidding, that’s not something you’ll see come out of Obama’s health care reform.
Single-payer. It is the only cure for this health care sickness. But it will never come to the U.S. as long as the few that are in charge – with pockets adequately lined – would rather the nation stays sick.