Wednesday, July 15, 2009
A STAGE IV MALIGNANCY IN THE BODY POLITIC
As we begin the great national debate on solutions for our nagging economic and health care problems, it is not hard to see how deathly ill our economy and government are. A massive tumor of corporate greed has mestastasized throughout both, and it appears as though we are in the final, deadly stage IV of this corporate malignancy. Is there any hope for our survival? The prognosis does not look good.
The ever-rising cost of health care, health insurance, and pharmaceuticals is proving unsustainable. The costs of these items rise well above our rate of inflation. Board members of health insurance and pharmaceutical companies unhesitatingly award themselves multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses as they routinely deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions who need insurance coverage and aid with prescription costs the most. They also heavily influence methods of treatment and hospital stay lengths, not in the interest of patient well-being and efficiency, but in the interest of their own maximized profit. 1 in every 6.5 American citizens no longer have health insurance, as they either cannot afford it or are refused it altogether. Doctors must continually battle with these companies on treatment methodology. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies raise prices at will, and frequently. They charge American citizens DOUBLE what they charge Canadian citizens FOR THE VERY SAME AMERICAN-MADE DRUGS! They claim they need huge profits to conduct expensive research and development, even though AMERICAN TAXPAYERS SUBSIDIZE ROUGHLY 30% OF THEIR R & D COSTS! This is criminal. Instead of a health care system, insurance and pharmaceutical companies are forcing us to ingest their poisonous profit maintenance system. This, too, is criminal. It is also immoral.
This "medical/industrial complex" controls the entire health care operation in the United States, and they want to keep things exactly as they are. They are willing, and will always find the money, to spend over one million dollars a day on lobbyists to influence our legislators to leave this pathetic system as it is, but they are unwilling to cover millions of Americans who need coverage most. They want NO government involvement in the administration of health care, and are spending even millions more on TV and radio ads featuring lies and distortions about government-run health care in an effort to scare the public away from the idea. THE MEDICAL/INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX AND ITS EVER-DEMANDING STOCKHOLDERS ARE THE CARCINOGENS OF CORPORATE GREED WHICH IS KILLING THE NATION. Their presence and influence is everywhere, hence my metaphorical stage IV malignancy description. They are all over the media; they control virtually the entire Republican Party; and they have bought out huge numbers of Democrats as well. Their obsessive profit-grabbing is killing businesses and destroying our economic well-being, and it must be checked before it destroys the entire country.
The only true total cure for this wicked scenario would be for the country to surgically remove these cancerous tumors altogether through the adoption of a fully government-run, single-payer system of health care. But remember, folks: this is a stage IV situation we are in. As such, the total surgery of a single-payer, universal system simply won't happen. But an alternative of successful chemotherapy we can and MUST adopt is called the Public Option. It is our only hope for survival, and will at least keep the stage IV malignancy at bay, and, at best, greatly shrink the horrible tumor which currently strangles us. Below is an outstanding piece by Kevin Drum which appeared in "Mother Jones" (and which I learned about through Yellow Dog's July 14 "Blue In The Bluegrass" blog, http://www.blueinthebluegrass.blogspot.com/). It is a superbly concise summary of what a public option for health care would offer us. Here it is:
"The so-called 'Tri-Committee' healthcare plan has just been released, and it's so called because it's a joint effort from the House committees on Education and Labor, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce. It looks pretty good at first glance, but honestly, I haven't read through it in any detail yet. So more on that front later.
For now, though, let's take a look at the PR effort. Here are the talking points from the "What's In It For You?" handout:
WHAT’S IN THE HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL FOR YOU?
Without reform, the cost of health care for the average family of four is projected to rise $1,800 every year for years to come—and insurance companies will make more health care decisions.
America’s middle class deserves better. Here’s what America’s Affordable Health Choices Act means for you:
No more co-pays or deductibles for preventive care
No more rate increases for pre-existing conditions, gender, or occupation
An annual cap on your out-of-pocket expenses
Group rates of a national pool if you buy your own plan
Guaranteed, affordable oral, hearing, and vision care for your kids.
Keep your doctor, and your current plan, if you like them
More choice, with a high quality public health insurance option competing with private insurers
You and your doctors make health care decisions — not insurance companies
More family doctors and nurses will enter the workforce, helping guarantee access
Mental health care must be covered
STABILITY & PEACE OF MIND
No more coverage denials for pre-existing conditions
No more lifetime limits on how much insurance companies will pay
No reason to ever make a job or life decision again based on health care coverage."
This stage IV situation we face IS something we can keep in check with the adoption of a public option. That is why I again urge you to barrage your Representative, your Senator, and even your Governor with a demand for the adoption of a strong, universal public option plan for health care in this country. Do it TODAY! And TOMORROW! And NEXT WEEK, TOO! Thank you. We'll all be much better off for it!