The following article is by a dear friend who is looking for an answer to his question. Read below and respond, if you can, we weren’t quite able to…
Have I missed something here? I’m serious when I say that I beg to be corrected if I’ve missed something in this “health care reform” debate.
Yesterday, October 13, the American Health Insurance Industry (whom I shall refer to as “AHII” for brevity) released a report on proposed health care reform legislation, a report which they commissioned and for which they paid. In a nutshell, the report says that Americans are NOT giving the AHII enough profit in the proposed health care reform legislation. Therefore, the AHII will have to punish us by raising health insurance rates 111% over the next ten years or until we submit to their demands for more of our money and stop all our efforts to reform their industry.
I want the AHII to report to me about something else. I want the AHII to explain to me how its existence improves the quality of my health and my health care. I want to know why America should reform an industry that has no purpose for existing except to divert money meant for health care into their coffers. Reform the American Health Insurance Industry? Before we “reform” it, I want to know why it should even exist.
We live in a society that has decided it needs to “fix” a health insurance industry that has become a deadly problem without really asking if the problem itself even needs to exist in the first place. The AHII has seduced us into believing that it is our only hope when we are threatened by disease. Increasingly, it’s becoming clear that the AHII is a disease itself, denying us treatment and leaving the most helpless and vulnerable to suffer or even die. Then, the AHII tells us in its report today that we aren’t paying it enough money for its “services.” All the while, it hopes that we won’t notice that it’s a 100% unnecessary parasite that can only exist as long as we feed it. Its sole purpose is to feed on us so that it can survive, grow, and feed on us even more.
For example, if you remove qualified doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals from the health care system, I can easily see how their absence would have a great, negative impact on my health and my health care, not to mention everybody else’s. If you remove hospitals and medical equipment and research labs, I can see how that would have a terrible impact. I can see why medical schools, hospitals, medicines and their places of manufacture are all vital elements of good health care. I can see the necessity of medical support staff ranging from security personnel at medical facilities to accountants and maintenance crews for these institutions. I can see the usefulness and even the urgent need for so many other elements of the American Health Care System which are clearly essential to the good health of and excellent health care for myself and my fellow Americans.
But how does the existence of the health insurance industry add one positive improvement to the quality of that health care? The sole purpose of health insurance companies is to make profit. They don’t treat people. They don’t develop new medicines. They don’t do research. Granted, the AHII occasionally gives money to a good cause in health care such as research or preventive medicine. However, it would be more cost effective to have the money drawn from a single source funded by a tax than to first pay it to the competing companies of the AHII in the form of premiums and then to have only some of it redirected to medical research. When health insurance companies are taken out of the loop, the loop still functions just as well and enormous sums of money are saved. When the AHII is out of the health care loop, a large part of the “research money” doesn’t have to go to a profit driven corporation that eats up money intended for research by diverting it to advertising, legal expenses, and the enormous upkeep of a corporate structure that exists only to make profit and which is more often than not led by incredibly overpaid executives. All the money for those expenses goes to corporate profit, not to the betterment of anyone’s health or health care. If the AHII ceased to exist, all the money that the industry gobbles up for pure profit and to maintain itself could go to medical care and research instead. It works for the other industrialized democracies of the world. Why wouldn’t it work for us?
Can a health care system survive without a private health insurance industry controlling it? Yes it can, and very well. All the other industrialized nations have gone for decades, even generations with nothing resembling our American Health Insurance Industry. Yet we rank 43rd in the world in terms of the general quality of our health. Many nations with no American style health insurance industry rank way ahead of us in the longevity of their citizens and below us in infant mortality. Although ranked at number 43, we spend more than any other nation on our health care. Much of that excess never goes to health care, only to corporate profits for the AHII.
Why are we Americans ripping the social fabric of our great American society apart fighting each other over how much of a reward to give to an industry that has never even been able to justify its existence? The AHII has poured millions into a propaganda campaign aimed at drawing attention away from its profit and greed driven motives while attempting to sell America the lie that any health system that is not totally under their control is “un-American” and against basic American values. The AHII has tricked many Americans into believing the lie that common sense and Human decency are somehow gateways to an alleged demonic invasion of Godless Communism under the guise of “socialized medicine.”
Governments with national health care systems don’t put government agents between patients and their doctors any more than such governments would put ballroom dance instructors in charge of their military forces. Governments with national health care systems hire doctors and trained medical professionals to run and oversee their health care systems just like they pay trained military commanders to run their militaries. It’s the American Health Insurance Industry that places non-medical bureaucrats between us and our doctors, bureaucrats whose sole purpose is to increase profit for the AHII. In national health care systems, medical professionals are rewarded for improving health and saving lives because national health care systems exist for no other purpose. In the AHII, non-medical bureaucrats are rewarded for increasing corporate profits. How is that consistent with the true American values passed down to us by our Founding Mothers and Fathers?
Suppose the Mafia, the drug cartels, and other organized crime syndicates put together a nationwide system of thugs and bone crushers to stand outside doctors’ offices, hospitals, medical schools, and clinics. Suppose these thugs told every person attempting to enter one of these facilities that they had to pay an “entrance toll” in order to enter. Suppose these thugs then denied access to medical care to any person who wouldn’t pay, even infants, the elderly, the handicapped, and the dying. Would we stand for it for even one minute? No! We’d haul them all off to court and then to prison. Such thugs would serve no purpose except to steal money from the sick and suffering and divert it to people who contribute nothing to health care and who only care about profit. But when we attempt to “reform” an industry such as AHII, whose only relationship with us is to take our money in return for inferior health care at inflated prices, our “reform” is based on asking them how much more we can give them to reward them for their abuse and greed.
Am I missing something here? Why doesn’t Obama just tell it like it is and stop pandering to those elected officials who have been bought and paid for by the AHII? If all the other countries with national health care systems have the horrible health care that the AHII propaganda machine tells us they do, why don’t we hear the people of those nations crying out to abandon their national health care systems and change to our system?
Can anyone reading this tell me one example of how the existence of the American Health Insurance Industry improves my health and health care or that of anyone else? I know there are horror stories about bad care under the national health care systems of other countries. But I ask you this: Can anyone name a country with a national health care system anywhere in the world where there has been a continuing national struggle for decades to replace their national health care system with the American Health Care System? The AHII and the elected officials they control want us to believe the lie that those national health care systems are so horrible that good health care in those countries is not available. If that lie has even a hint of truth in it, why aren’t all the people in the countries with national health care systems fighting to switch to the American system? Why is it that such a fight over changing the system is going on only in America? Am I missing something here?
I once lived in The United kingdom. When I called my doctor one day to make an appointment to see him about a really bad flu bug I had, he insisted on making a house call instead so there would be no risk of me spreading the bug to other patients in his office. He came to my home that day with a nurse. I had three house calls during my two years in the UK. I had surgery under their national health care system. It was wonderful care. That was thirty years ago. My UK friends tell me their health care system is even better today.
Yes, I heard many complaints about the UK health care system when I lived there, but then I would ask the complainers if they were familiar with the American Health Care System and its private insurance companies. I asked them if they would prefer to be under the American system. Not one of those whom I asked in the two years I lived in the UK ever said they would prefer the American system. The few who had experienced the American Health Care System in person during visits to America shuddered in disgust when they talked of it. Many asked me if I were afraid to go back to America knowing that I would surely face illness as I grew older. They simply couldn’t imagine living in a country where health care and the alleviation of suffering was only for those who could afford it . . . and which could be withdrawn on a moment’s notice at the whim of the health insurance companies using any number of their inhumane “rules” for denying health care even to those who have faithfully paid premiums for decades. When I asked them, most of my UK friends burst out laughing at the absurdity of the idea of giving up their national health care system for the American private insurance system.
I don’t hear any of the more than 45,000,000 Americans with no health insurance laughing. But then, maybe I’m missing something here.
Peace, Lee Walker +