One of the solutions being bandied about to counter the healthcare crises impacting America is the single payer solution. When I think of a single payer health plan I am reminded of my experience here with the single provider of electricity. Ameren UE denied me service because my last name matched the last name of somebody who stayed in my apartment previously and stiffed the sole electricity provider in the area. Despite the fact that I presented my out of state identification that should have proven beyond a doubt that I was new to the area and that I didn’t know the previous tenant, the representatives I spoke to, the clerk, supervisor, and the manager, were obstinate that I pay the previous tenant’s outstanding balance. They hung up on me in the middle of me pleading my case. It wasn’t until I called the Governor’s office that I got the situation resolved. I honestly believe that if Ameren had competition in the area their customer service would not have been so shitty.
So now some political candidates want to offer a single payer solution for the healthcare crisis. Maybe my understanding of the whole healthcare issue just isn’t deep enough because I’m still trying to figure out how this is going to help those people who don’t have health insurance. Whether it is a plethora of for profit insurance providers or if it is just one what will be the difference other than the fact that now somebody has a government sanctioned monopoly on making money by minimizing expenses and maximizing income. That still spells a recipe for denying medical service as much as possible in order to boost profits. And when there’s just a single provider making the profit, the customer service is bound to follow the Ameren UE model.
Another solution being talked about for combating the healthcare crisis are tax credits designed to help consumers pay their insurance premiums. I guess the theory here is that if you give people a break on their taxes that money will automatically take care of people’s health insurance expenses. A two thousand dollar tax credit for the year isn’t going to cover the fourteen thousand dollar health insurance expense for coverage on a family of four. However, this solution does nothing to change the conditions of the unemployed or the low income earners enough coverage. And even if I did get a fourteen thousand dollar tax credit the American public will continue to work with a for profit healthcare system bent on maximizing income and minimizing expenses.
These two solutions that are nothing but bandages for a problem that requires extensive surgery mirrors the extent of the medical treatment some people get authorization for from their insurance providers for their life threatening conditions. The root of the problem is that somebody wants to maximize their profit by minimizing the level of care offered. Medical treatments can be expensive and can eat away at profits. Why pay for somebody’s chemo therapy when there are investors in the company looking for profit, executives looking for bonuses, and employees looking for raises? It is cheaper to let people die, let their families that are capable take the company to court, throw a gaggle of lawyers into the ring to fight an immoral legal battle, and then settle for an undisclosed sum of cash and no admission of guilt when the crack legal team can’t make the lawsuit problem go away.
It would be reasonable to assume that the best way to handle the distribution of healthcare is to remove the profit associated with denying care from the equation. When the decision to provide healthcare is managed by the company that can make more money by offering the least amount of care possible you have a system with a contradictory agenda. The goal of the company is not to give the highest quality of medical care possible to its clients. Anybody who operates in this environment and with a straight face says that they care about your health and want to give you the best healthcare possible is a liar. What the majority of these people want is to get paid fat checks that are only possible if they provide you with the least medical assistance that they can legally get away with. When your claim goes to your provider it doesn’t just go before someone to assure that you are getting the best care. Your claim goes before a series of investigators to find a glimmer of a discrepancy that will give them cause for rejection.
If we want to end the healthcare crisis we must do away with a system that makes it more profitable for any healthcare insurance company to deny coverage, whether it be the broad number of companies in operation today or the single provider. People shouldn’t be able to make money off of other people who have paid their premiums and are in need of help. We see the people who run these insurance companies make salaries and bonuses that would make an oil company executive’s eyes bulge like Erkel. We see the marketing campaign that has been successfully implemented to make us think that socialized medicine is some form of evil filled with government bureaucracy and inefficient management. But how could it get any worse than the bureaucracy and inefficient healthcare management that we suffer now?
We have been bamboozled to believe that universal healthcare will bankrupt the country. Taking the potential for billions of dollars of profit out of the healthcare industry is supposedly going to cost us more in the long run. And people buy this argument simply because it sounds bad when someone on television says it with a sneer. However, until the day somebody can show me how a system where there is no incentive to deny me medical care for the sake of profit is actually worse than a system designed to make it profitable for others to deny me coverage, I’ll hold out for the former. A single payer plan or a tax credit plan will only provide the insurance industry with more money for their potential profits to get even bigger.
Yesterday I watched Michael Moore’s flick Sicko. Whether or not you believe Mr. Moore’s propaganda on the condition of the system of healthcare here in America especially when compared to the rest of the world isn’t important. Whether or not you believe that there is a chief executive officer of a healthcare company getting paid one point six billion dollars because of his stewardship of running an insurance company that looks for every loophole to deny its clients service when they need it most is not the subject here. Whether or not you believe that our profit driven healthcare industry is socially responsible enough to assure the best health for everyone in America will be a topic for another day. Whether or not we as a nation will wakeup to fact that we are being lied to and manipulated against believing that a government program that would insure the health of all Americans is in the best interest of all Americans instead of the profit driven system that seems to be in the best interest of a handful of individuals who make a very good living denying healthcare to people is not the issue here. So let’s gone on with the subject then.
The movie Sicko shows what has happened to a number of individuals who thought they had adequate health coverage but found out differently when they filed a claim with their insurance company. There was a man who suffered a stroke and was denied coverage. He and his wife had to sell their house to make their medical bills. They declared bankruptcy and had to sell all of their possessions saved what could fit into two cars. The couple had to move into the basement of their daughter’s house. The man was a foreman I think and the woman was an editor for a newspaper. They raised six children. They were the epitome of middle income America.
There was another story of a woman who worked as a nurse during the terrorist attack against the world trade center on September 11th of 2001. The woman volunteered to go to where the towers stood, the area that became known as ground zero, and stayed administering care to the survivors that were found in the rubble. There were firemen who worked feverishly to help rescue any survivors they could. These people did what they could and rose to the challenge in America’s time of need. But during the disaster they inhaled the cloud of dust that resulted from the buildings’ collapse. They now have severe breathing problems and now find themselves in need of help. One woman was on a prescription for an inhaler that was costing her over a hundred sixty dollars out of her pocket. Too bad, so sad. Since they were not exactly required to be down there and helping where ever they could the government really isn’t responsible for helping them. Thanks for your help but you can go to hell if you think we’re going to help you.
There was the woman who lost her daughter because in an emergency when her toddler aged daughter ran a fever of a hundred four the woman went to the wrong hospital. Her health maintenance organization refused to authorize any treatment at the hospital that wasn’t part of the plan. The little girl was denied care. When the woman begged the hospital doctor’s for help security was called to physically throw the woman out. By the time the girl made it to the authorized hospital it was an hour later. Just in time for the girl to go into cardiac arrest and die.
Throughout all of this there are people who are still defending our for profit medical system. Nobody sees a problem with a system with an inherent flaw that it will make more money by offering as little medical care as possible. And there was a ton of money to be made. People were paying into the system for years. Then one day the client makes a claim. After that an army of insurance employees will comb through the client’s medical history to look for any reason they could find to deny any coverage. Let the insurance company find proof that someone wore a Scooby-Do bandage when they had a boo-boo when they were five years old. That’s all the insurance company needs to justify a preexisting condition. By insurance company logic whatever led to that band aid being applied to the client’s knee could have been for any number of preexisting medical conditions. The client should’ve come clean and admitted that they had received medical care when they were five. Claim denied. But thank you for all the payments you’ve made into the system. And people want to defend this system.
The film went on to show a number of television and talk show pundits countering Mr. Moore’s film by saying that the universal healthcare systems from other countries that were being compared to the United States had their own problem. Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malken, and others were shown lambasting Mr. Moore’s film with claims that universal healthcare practiced in these other countries is far from perfect. But what those problems were was never mentioned. Everybody knows that there is no such thing as a perfect system when people get involved. But there are some systems that are closer to being perfect than others. No one in France, Cuba, Norway, or Canada was getting immensely rich off of the denial of medical care. The healthcare system of those countries seem to be a lot more attractive than this system that allows people to become astoundingly wealthy while other suffer with maladies that could be easily corrected if our medical system would have more compassion for people in need of help than compassion for making a dollar.
It’s too expensive is a mantra of people who regularly defend the system. But somehow we can justify the current system that is expensive, denies coverage, and allows a handful of people to become billionaires for doing nothing. People don’t deserve to be healthy because they haven’t paid their dues is another justification for keeping things the way they are. But if what happened to those firefighters and nurses in Michael Moore’s film who went to help at ground zero is any indication then even the people who paid their dues, your dues and my dues, and then some are being denied coverage. People who have paid their monthly dues without fail on a regular basis are being denied coverage. The lack of any real applicable logic is not a problem for many. People will claim this current system of medical coverage here in the States as the best system in the world bar none. People would give their lives and the lives of their family members defending this system. Funny thing is they don’t realize the likelihood of such an event. It just might come to that.