Making America sick again
July 20, 2017
The older I get, the more things I don't understand. But occasionally I have an epiphany, clouds part and something becomes clear. Here's a for-instance; for the longest time I couldn't understand why America pays more for health care than any other nation of consequence, yet we suffer from outcome rankings near the bottom. I couldn't understand how we allowed 800,000 bankruptcies yearly caused by medical expenses. We also shrug about the fact that 1.5 million people lose their homes every year to medical debt.
And don't get me started about the pharmaceutical thieves. Pill bottles should contain this warning: Side effects of taking this medication may include bankruptcy, loss of credit, foreclosure, feelings of hopelessness or general malaise leading to a probable outcome of homelessness. If these symptoms persist, contact your local opioid dealer for medication to relieve the mental distress of trying to afford this medication.
How can this be? Not content with just the worst health care in the civilized world, our so-called leaders are hellbent to make it even worse. Who's paying them to turn their backs on their constituents?
Adding to my confusion is Medicare's impact on health insurance. Medicare covers everybody at age 65. That's typically when the ailments associated with aging begin to kick it – a high-risk pool, they call it. But Medicare takes that entire pool off the table leaving overall a much lower-risk group to buy insurance from health insurance companies. Why then do health care costs throw millions into bankruptcy and put children out of their homes for the crime of their parent's brain aneurism or heart surgery?
There is a one-word explanation for the high prices we pay for health and it's not Obamacare and it's definitely not Trumpcare; it's greed.
Greed, obscene bonuses and compensation, coupled with insatiable stockholders who thrive by holding the ill and elderly hostage: pay or die. Now all this may sound lurid but if you look close, you'll see it's rock-solid reality.
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Recently you had an opportunity to permanently fix health care in Colorado and you turned your back on it. ColoradoCare was the solution, evidenced by the huge corporate money funding the lies that drove you away. Until you are willing to acknowledge that it is deeply and morally wrong to have turned cancer into a profit center, all you can expect is more of the same. Single-payer is the answer. It's what every other nation has done and by every measure they're better off than us.
Wait! Let me back up, it's not enough to simply acknowledge that you expect better, you have to demand it. Eighty percent of Americans' want better coverage than our craven Congressmen want to provide, but our leaders have turned their backs on us. We have to call town hall meetings without them because they're so deep in corporate pockets, scratching like bantam roosters for lint to stash offshore. When do they ever worry about an overdue insurance bill? Call Senator Cory Gardner (202) 224-5941 and ask him what the deductible on his health insurance is. And that's the problem: doubtless Senator McCain will not pay a penny for his brain surgery while his colleagues are trying to cut 20 million of us out of insurance. That's too big of a disconnect for me to stomach. I preach this repeatedly: the problem is that Americans do not pay for health care; we pay for health insurance.
It's not the same.