American Healthcare Held Hostage

by David T. Bruce

insurance_claim_formNeither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party as a whole gives a damn about the healthcare needs of the citizenry of the United States.  Other nations are criticized for their socialized medical healthcare plans.  England’s National Health Service and Canadian Health Care are two forms of socialized medicine that provide healthcare to all citizens, not just to those that can afford care or afford coverage.  While the systems certainly have their share of flaws and frustrations, the mentality suggests that a government body should logically and morally care for its citizens.

In the United States, many of the elderly cannot afford the privatized healthcare coverage offered to them, let alone can they afford a new heart.  Likewise, American citizens who are born disabled or find themselves disabled are unlikely to have sufficient coverage.  Like the elderly, their income level in general is not enough to afford them access to the level of healthcare required to meet their needs.  Furthermore, the economic instability that still prevails in the United States (regardless of the Wall Street or political spin to the contrary) increases the ranks of the underinsured or uninsured.  Gallup polls point out the state of healthcare in the United States as of 2011, illustrating that over 17 percent of Americans over age 18 do not have health insurance.

The majority of Americans are not asking for handouts; the majority of Americans are not resting on their laurels or sitting on their behinds, avoiding work in order to obtain free medical care.  The majority of Americans are victims of the power struggle that is running rampant in this country between the two major opposing political parties, who use large business companies as their chess pieces of highest rank.  We are merely pawns – very weak and very disposable.  For fear of losing power, our elected officials use their own form of domestic terrorism to make each of us fearful of our neighbors, engendering within each of us the fear that something we have earned will be taken away.

Both the Obama Administration and the Republican Party are missing the point.  Both sides are wrong.  We should not have to force Americans to buy health insurance.  Health insurance should not be for-profit, benefiting health insurance companies more than those receiving benefits.  The relationship between these two entities – the federal government and the health insurance companies – is not difficult to perceive.

The insurance companies lobby on Capitol Hill to benefit from the election of an official who will support the continued financial success of insurance companies.  That is what “for profit” means, and they are indeed very profitable.  These elected officials then seek to mandate that insurance companies benefit from the support for which they have lobbied.  Here we have a conflict of interest.

What should be of interest to all Americans is this: we either care about our citizens or we do not.  England and Canada may not have the best insurance programs, but they do at least give the impression that the wealth of a human being is not attached to their age or ability.  Given the rhetoric spewed from all branches of our federal government and the health insurance companies, the message is that healthcare for all Americans is not a priority.  The message is that if you are too old, too disabled, too poor, or too sick, you are on your own.

Domestic Nonlethal Assistance Repealed

by David T. Bruce

discretionary-spending-2011
Source: Mother Jones

As a society, we may have become numb to the reality that we have spent almost ten years in the Middle East, engaged in conflicts with Afghanistan and Iraq.  Now we find that we are compelled to join NATO in support of Libyan rebels.  To support our troops (an admirable incentive) and our habit, billions of dollars must be allocated for defense.

According to information provided by the National Journal, the Pentagon has requested $708.3 billion for this year, including $159.3 billion to continue our campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.  During the first day of operation in Libya, the United States spent approximately $100 million.  Following the initial attacks on the forces of Colonel Gaddifi, we have recently pledged additional military assistance by sending armed drone aircraft into Libya.  This amounts to an additional $25 million of “nonlethal” [really?] military assistance.

At the same time, our representatives want to eliminate $1 trillion from the Medicaid program over the next ten years, or $84 billion a year.  This suggests that much of the money once used for healthcare in the United States is to be reallocated to support the habits of the Pentagon.

We have money enough to send “nonlethal” assistance to foreign countries, while we simultaneously propose cutbacks in what our representatives call “entitlements.”  The result of denying the disabled, elderly, and low-income citizens of America from having these “entitlements” is indeed lethal.  Apparently, saving lives of citizens in other countries is humane, while saving the lives of Americans at home is an entitlement.  Yes, we need to make changes to the Medicaid (and Medicare) programs, but perhaps the fault of the misuse or abuse is less of an indictment against the patients.

It is remarkable and yet interesting to journey down Constitution Avenue in Washington D. C.  Observe and take note of the buildings that line either side of the street: the Federal Trade Commission, the National Archives, the Department of Justice, the National Museum of Natural History, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Commerce, the National Aquarium, the Federal Reserve, the Albert Einstein Memorial, and . . . the American Pharmaceutical Association? . . . yes, the American Pharmaceutical Association.

Is it possible that the problem is not abuse of the system by the patients and more of an abuse of the system by providers and pharmaceutical companies?  Many incidents may be cited in which service was provided for no reason other than the bill was covered by Medicaid.  The cost of medication is on the rise, and I question whether or not pressure is being put on the pharmaceutical companies to keep their costs down.  Instead, patients are targeted.  At some point, voters must realize that our elected representatives lobby for large businesses when they should be lobbying for their constituents.

American Healthcare Debate Is Sickening

Good for you who have found a means to make the American dream work in your favor. Shame on you who would damn your neighbor for not having the same benefit. What do you care that someone else would prefer an affordable option for health care, which allows for preventative care and affordable prescriptions?

by David T. Bruce

dollar-1175293_1280It doesn’t seem to make sense that a government operation automatically has the advantage of putting a privately owned enterprise out of business.  If this were the case, then the U.S. Postal Service would not be struggling.  The post office struggles because consumers perceive that the postal service is not providing a service that is comparable to various competitors: UPS, DHL, the Internet, etc.  Similarly, a government run healthcare program does not automatically have an advantage over services provided by various privately owned insurance companies. If the government provides a better service at a better cost than privately owned companies, subsequently putting some privately owned companies out of business, so be it. Frankly, I am tired of watching our government bail out companies and CEOs who fail at their jobs.  It is about time that the government bails out citizens for a change.

Unlike those responsible for the financial collapse of the recent past, those citizens without health insurance are not looking for handouts.   The uninsured are not asking for funding to make amends for poor or reckless business practices.  The uninsured are asking for a health insurance option that is affordable and not a measurement of a person’s social status or a way to line the pockets of an insurance company’s board of directors.  How can a person earning minimum wage hope to afford the cost of insurance from a company that is focused on earning a profit?

Good for you who have found a means to make the American dream work in your favor.  Shame on you who would damn your neighbor for not having the same benefit.  What do you care that someone else would prefer an affordable option for health care, which allows for preventative care and affordable prescriptions?  Many Americans can no more afford private health insurance today than they could afford a new car or new clothes.  A person cannot find insurance policies on a Goodwill clothing rack.  For those that concern themselves with the fiscal ramifications of a government-owned healthcare program, I have news for you.  Medicaid is paid for by taxes, and over 20 percent of the country is already living with a government operated healthcare program.  We have socialized medicine.  Yes, the government already provides some health insurance coverage, and the government dictates who will provide health care.  Incidentally, some insurance company policies dictate the same.  Get over it, and let us move past that particular label that is designed to strike fear into the hearts of Americans everywhere.

Our nation as a whole can only benefit if the majority of the population is healthy.  If a health care system exists that excludes any Americans from even the most trifling of care because of socio-economic status, then that system is flawed.  Many of our nation’s leaders recognize that their constituents are of no use to themselves, their families, or their country if they do not receive regular medical care.  On the other hand, many of our nation’s leaders recognize that their bread is buttered by health insurance companies.  I suspect that many of the people who are currently offended by the possibility of government intervention in the health insurance industry had no problem accepting checks resulting from the government stimulus package two years ago or consenting to the government bailouts that prevented further deterioration of the United States economy.

In 2007 approximately 1 in 5 persons in the United States was enrolled in Medicaid, a government sponsored healthcare program.  We need to stop worrying about the labels associated with government assistance and begin concerning ourselves with why (according to the World Health Organization) we spend more for health care than any country in the world yet rank 37 out of 191 countries in health care performance.  Everyone deserves basic health care, and no one has the right to deny that care: not insurance companies and not those waiting for the next stimulus check.