Alright, so U.S. healthcare is actually far ahead technologically speaking. I cannot complain about the medical innovations that take place in this nation. To put it bluntly, though, those innovations mean absolutely nothing to me.
A lot of other countries, particularly European countries (those dang socialist commies!) have their fair share of medical innovations as well, both in the past and in the present. These European countries also have quality healthcare that is much, MUCH more readily available to their citizens. So how is it that crazy socialists enjoy comparable, if not better, health benefits than the U.S.? How do countries like Cuba score higher on WHO reports on the quality of Healthcare, than the U.S., the country with the largest army and biggest economy to date?
It’s about availability. You see, most national governments have a vested interest in keeping their citizens healthy: more healthy, living citizens means more tax revenue, larger army sizes, larger capable labor force, and more. So, these governments, most readily observed in the extreme case of Cuba, work to make sure that the most people get the best care that the government can possibly provide. Makes sense, and it is almost self-evident.
But, of course, the U.S. government doesn’t work in such a straightforward manner. Things like Obamacare get all kinds of flack here. The old farse of an argument gets thrown around all the time here: the government can’t have the power to dispense healthcare and control our bodies (hold your wrath, ProChoicers) or else the U.S. would become a socialist dystopia.
Oh, and remember that
1: Medicare and Medicaid don’t count.
2: Insurance Companies don’t have death panels determining whether you receive coverage and whether or not your insurance contract is honored, but the government definitely would.
3: Additions and expansions to Medicare/Medicaid are completely ok, but anything else is blasphemous socialistic dogma, so sayeth the AARP.
4: Corporatized Healthcare is always completely fair, with more interest with your well-being than next quarter’s profit margin.
5: All you need is a decent job and Health Insurance will always cover your back through thick and thin. After all, you’ve earned it, the ‘Merican way.
Before I go on any further I need to note that I had to stop a second after writing that list; I choked on my own overwhelming sarcasm. I’m risking my health to write this. Just so you know.
You know what, though? There is a part of me that does feel for the insurance companies. How many times has an insurance company had to pay out the nose for the extensive bills of the numerous famed American specialists? How many jaw-droppingly expensive experimental tests and procedures have insurance companies had to cover? How many were actually necessary, and how many could have been prevented? At what point does an insurance company finally have to say, “We just can’t do this, it’s costing us way too much.” They are a business, after all, and businesses need a profit to survive.
So where does one start digging when looking for the source of America’s healthcare mess? I personally like to start with the specialists. What sometimes disgusts me about American doctors, specialists in particular, is that they don’t seem to mind having huge price tags on their services. Neither do pharmaceutical companies and other medical suppliers. The cash squeezing is all justified by these people because they figure that insurance is the one stuck with the bill, not the actual patient.
Medicare and Medicaid have exacerbated this problem, serving as a more widely available “exploitee” that is more bound to pay the dues than even insurance companies are. The U.S. government sinks more money into these two programs than defense and social security combined. Don’t even get me started on fraud.
Need I remind these specialists, drug companies, and medical suppliers that the patient DOES pay for it? It’s just harder to see because the weight gets put on everyone’s shoulders (everyone on that particular Health Insurance plan) and the rates incrementally increase as time goes by. Higher rates means less accessibility, which means less customers on that particular insurance plan, which then means…higher rates. In biology we call this a positive feedback loop. Is it any wonder, then, why more and more Americans can’t afford healthcare coverage? Are all these expensive technological innovations worth it if they just reduce the amount of Americans who can even afford them into a small cabal of the rich, not to mention force everyone else out of healthcare altogether?
It is my opinion, that the U.S.’ abundant specialist population, high pharmaceutical costs, and high equipment costs, is due to outright greed on a decentralized individual level (this is America, I wouldn’t expect anything less). Of course there is a need for certain specialists, like cancer practitioners or auto-immune specialists. But it’s getting to the point where every disease has its own specialist in some ivory tower somewhere. No other country has it like this. Frankly, it is my ever-so-expansive undergraduate conclusion that no country needs this. No country can afford it, either; specialists are crazy expensive. WE can’t even afford it, yet here we are sinking into debt and expanding social welfare programs, whether it be Obamacare or Medicaid part D.
Our attempts at universal healthcare social welfare programs have turned out to be ridiculous and mere shadows of their original proposed form. Obamacare, while still a step forward, is a tangled and ineffective mess compared to the way it was planned to be. Individual interests in Congress always tear apart any attempt at universal healthcare, or at least healthcare reform. Individual interests in the business side of medicine also tear apart any attempt at healthcare reform for the same, small, short-sighted and impulsive reasons.
I think it’s time we all tore this shaky, leaning tower of a healthcare system completely down and then start from square one. Healthcare has become a “dog-eat-dog” system of individual greed. The richer get high-tech care and deny the poorer even the simplest of care that could easily prevent serious illness in the future. These serious illnesses, of course, require high-tech care if left untreated. Just do me a favor, and think long and hard about it before you indulge in an expensive procedure. If you didn’t need it, it’s just another straw on the camel’s back.