Our National Health Care Plan

W.J. Astore

Fifteen years ago, I saw a bumper sticker on a colleague’s car:

Our National Health Care Plan — Don’t Get Sick.

That’s about as succinct an expression of U.S. health care as you can make. We have no national health care plan. Your only hope is not to get sick, or, if you do get a serious (read: expensive) illness, to die quickly before you and yours are bankrupted.

I often joke that health care is really wealth care in America, and an anecdote shared by a friend this morning confirmed it. He recently had a bad case of the flu, but he confirmed it wasn’t Covid-19 through home test kits. Since he travels to Germany, he bought several home test kits there that were on sale for the equivalent of roughly one dollar. Compare that to Covid home test kits at CVS here in America (assuming you can find one), which retail for $30.00. As my friend noted, “Your profit-driven health care industry at work!”

Profiting from sickness is truly an “exceptional” feature of American capitalism. Isn’t it wonderful that you have the “freedom” to purchase private, for-profit, health insurance that costs you hundreds of dollars a month, with deductibles of $5000 or $10,000 or higher, with co-pays and various other costs and restrictions? Truly, freedom isn’t free!

A reminder: Joe Biden ran against Medicare for all and said he’d veto it if it ever reached his desk, which it obviously won’t. But he did promise a public (government-provided) option for health care, a promise he has failed to keep, just as Barack Obama failed to keep his promise for a public option in 2008-09. And the Democrats wonder why so many people either don’t vote or vote for an even more pro-business party.

The latest betrayal is the Democratic Party’s capitulation to Big Pharma. Instead of allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for all prescription drugs, the Democrats have decided to allow negotiation for only 10 drugs, the new prices of which won’t become effective until 2025. One of these drugs is insulin. So if your insulin costs too much and you need to ration it, thereby imperiling your health, never fear: maybe in four years it’ll be affordable again. Or maybe not.

And if you’re sick and you need an expensive drug that’s not one of the magical ten, well, too bad for you. Maybe you shouldn’t have gotten sick. Or maybe you should have gotten a job with better health care benefits. It’s most certainly your fault, not the government’s and certainly not that of the profit-driven health care industry.

Clint Eastwood, in “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” said that “Dying ain’t much of a living.” That may have been true about bounty hunting, but it turns out that many indeed are making a living, indeed a killing, off of health care in America. Hooray capitalism!

16 thoughts on “Our National Health Care Plan

  1. Part of the reason I had to say goodbye to The Home of Bacon Cheeseburgers, Drag Racing & Midnight Madness Sales was that as a retiree, I couldn’t afford the health care I need. The only option would have been to continue working which, after 48 years in harness, was not a viable option. So, I now have affordable, comprehensive health care (with free prescriptions), with doctors and medical facilities of my choice for less than a third of what it would cost me back home. Aye, but there’s the rub … “back home.” A sad state of affairs when self-exile is your only route to quality healthcare. (And that’s on Social Security … on which I live comfortably, if not in a villa on the Cote D’azur … another reason for leaving: affordable, good quality housing. Ah, another time, perhaps.)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. On occasion, the owners make it clear how this country works: Joe Biden telling his rich donors that nothing will fundamentally change; the elites from both parties sitting next to each other for Colin Powell’s funeral; the Build Back Better (?) proposal actually reducing tax revenues by increasing the SALT deduction.

    But we’re supposed to believe in any or all of their happy talk about working for the benefit of “the American people” or how they’re going to make healthcare better?

    As bad as it it’s been, it’s going to get worse when the Republicans take both the House and Senate in 2022 and the Presidency in 2024. But maybe that’s the cost of destroying the corporate Democratic Party to get one that works for the benefit of the people, including healthcare system that works for the people – not the corporations.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. With CanaDa’s SOCIALIZED Health Care, we may pay a little more in Taxes, but there is no Middle Man between Government and Patient.
    The Citizen Patient never sees a Bill for Doctor or Hospital Care. Government pays Hospitals and Doctors directly. There are NO DEDUCTIONS or co-pays.
    Citizens will NEVER lose their homes or go even deeper in Debt because of a Major Medical catastrophe.

    The US system has Private Insurance, the Middle Man, contributing NOTHING to the care of the American People except GREATER UNNECESSARY COSTS to enrich the FEW at the EXPENSE of the many, as you so rightly point out William.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This article and all the above comments is a subject near and dear to my heart.

    As a retired emergency physician I saw the ‘costs’ of our health care system every day. I saw the poor who waited too long for a good outcome. I saw working people who did not have medical coverage who were as distraught over what it was going to cost as to the seriousness of their medical emergency.

    I was nearly fired from one of my positions because during the depths of the 2009 – 2012 Great Recession I gave free medical care to those who made a sincere plea for it.

    Never did I see those with Medicare in emotional distress about the cost of the care.

    The parasites that infest American medicine need to be removed so the body politic can thrive.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. We need to keep in mind that in America, we the people exist to be farmed for profit. The idea is to keep people wanting things so that they will work for whatever is offered, are unable to unite in unions, keeping them free as individuals and therefor powerless to be worked as desired to maximize profit. The investor’s best friends are the people at the bottom who will work for conditions just a little bit worse that what is currently offered, wherever in the wide world these people may be found.

    The farming takes place on every billboard, on every TV and radio commercial, in every movie where the lifestyles of the rich are held before the eyes to stimulate desire regardless of the plot of the particular story, right down to the robocalls that invade our phones against our wishes, though we hate it. If one sucker in a million can be found then let the million be tormented to keep that profit opportunity open.

    To call our system one of personal freedom while in fact we are being fleeced is a remarkable phenomenon of capitalism unchained and as each new technology has appeared (radio, TV, movies, the Internet) it has been captured for profit. Our health care system broadcasts that profit comes before people. This is such a foundation in America that it is hard to know where to begin to change it, but public financing of election campaigns is a good place to start.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. And really, as awful as it sounds, it’s better from a healthcare perspective to be truly destitute than it is to be lower middle class. If one makes just enough money to be above Medicaid level, but doesn’t have employer-provided healthcare, the only alternative is coverage through the ACA, which can be surprisingly expensive. That means sky-high deductibles, often coverage of only 60% of costs, and high out-of-pocket maximums. It’s the just-getting-by people who really have it rough—not poor enough to get real help, not well-off enough to afford medical bills. There must be at least tens of thousands of Americans in that category.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there’s 20-30 million people in America who either have no health insurance or are under-insured.

      People don’t go to the doctor because they fear medical bills, which just makes matters worse for them if they do have a problem that requires treatment.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining” I use that one a lot in this here Present day. Outlaw Josey Wales! One great Line & Scene after another– should be in the Motion Pictures H.O.F…! Too Politically Incorrect for its time! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Progressive Democrats in the House and Senate have for many years tried to pass an Enhanced Medicare For All it included Doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription drugs, dental care, eye care, etc.

    The Corporate Democrats like Nancy Pelosi refused to be co-sponsors. Kamala Harris briefly flirted with Enhanced Medicare for all, until she was tapped on the shoulder for VP consideration and presto-chango she was not for it.

    Back in my dim distant days of business classes one question would emerge does this product, service or procedure “Add Value”???

    Our Corporate Health Care via “Insurance” adds no value to an individual seeking heath care. Instead this Corporate Health Care via “Insurance” degrades the outcome. I suppose it is like adding an extra 150 pounds to racing car and expecting it to have the same performance characteristics as a race car that does not have the extra weight.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s most probable the Billionaires donating to Democrat Elite are friends with the Billionaires donating to Republican Elite and meet in their exclusive Clubs or berthing alongside each other in their most expensive Yachts with heliport deck.

    Nancy Pelosi Officiated and performed the Wedding of the fabulous wealthy and beautiful heiress Ivy Getty of the Getty Fortune.

    Searching Google for Images of the Wedding could make one think it was THE Fairy tale Wedding!

    Here’s Nancy!


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