A US Free Market Based Health Care System- Time to Admit This Cruel US Experiment has Abysmally Failed
Instead of expounding exhaustively on this topic I believe that what my blog partner and co-editor, Cervantes, posted on this blog on Jan 12 entitled Lost in Space pretty much summarizes my own view. Cervantes wrote this essay a while back with a physician colleague Anthony Schlaff. The basic summary of this essay was that 1) there is no truly free market in health care nor should there be 2) A free market approach to health care blatantly ignores the reality that universal health care coverage serves the public good over the few who are wealthy. (“we don’t trade in human flesh”) 3) The current proposals put forth by the White House and the majority Republican party leaders in Congress are like Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and free market “competition” approaches to Medicare Benefit expansions (like the new Drug benefit) are real-time failing now or doomed to fail.
There are many fine values-based experts who have written on this topic. Among my favorites is Noam Chomsky perhaps the US’ greatest living intellectual. In a recent interview posted on January 14th of this year on AlterNet.com Chomsky in simple language says this “…..say for example health care. Probably the major domestic problem for people. A large majority of the population is in favor of a national health care system of some kind. And that's been true for a long time. But whenever that comes up -- it's occasionally mentioned in the press -- it's called politically impossible, or "lacking political support," which is a way of saying that the insurance industry doesn't want it, the pharmaceutical corporations don't want it, and so on. Okay, so a large majority of the population wants it, but who cares about them? Well, Democrats are the same. Clinton came up with some cockamamie scheme which was so complicated you couldn't figure it out, and it collapsed.” (I, Blake, would add perhaps not as complicated as the recently implemented new Drug benefit under Medicare)
Chomsky goes on to say “Kerry in the last election, the last debate in the election, October 28 I think it was, the debate was supposed to be on domestic issues. And the New York Times had a good report of it the next day. They pointed out, correctly, that Kerry never brought up any possible government involvement in the health system because it "lacks political support." It's their way of saying, and Kerry's way of understanding, that political support means support from the wealthy and the powerful. Well, that doesn't have to be what the Democrats are. You can imagine an opposition party that's based on popular interests and concerns”
Let me recommend another extremely important piece written by Malcolm Gladwell of the New Yorker Magazine on August 29th of this year entitled “The Moral-Hazard Myth- The bad idea behind our failed health-care system”. In this piece, Gladwell explains the concept of moral hazard (an Insurance Industry term) and how this pervasive concept is intellectually and itself morally bankrupt. Critical Care readers –you need to understand this counter-intuitive concept of moral-hazard in order to understand how the Republicans are trying, once more, to redistribute health and wealth to the rich. Gladwell tells us that six-times in the past century, beginning during the First World War, efforts have been made to introduce some kind of universal health insurance and six times we as a nation have failed. Gladwell calls this one of the greatest mysteries of political life in the United States? I attribute it to the immaturity of a 230 year old country which took the good concept of free enterprise in business and made a huge and cruel error of applying it to Health Care which, as Cervantes says, ignores the public good of a healthy US citizenry. We all must act now to stop the very life threatening hemorrhaging of our fatally wounded US Health Care system lest we are forced to administer last rites.
PS- BREAKING NEWS- Upcoming Presidential State of the Union Address will primarily deal with Health Care-
Readers and fellow Americans
- Watch your wallet!
- Watch your souls!