On Accessibility of Health Care in the United States
There is no excuse or logic why so many people in the United States remain uninsured or have no accessibility to medical care. I fail to understand any excuses that try and explain it. In a country so rich, with almost unlimited resources as the United States. Politicians on both sides of the aisle that elucidate the complexities of solving this problem have failed to find any reasonable solution to the biggest failure of the American Government (both under democrats and republicans) and to the American way of life.
The only two choices that have been presented (to date) are: government control of the medical care system (socialized medicine, as in Canada) which needs a lot of thought, and consideration, or a private-sector Medical Care system whose accountability remains more involved with its investors. What we have now is a split between private sector control (accessible for those who can afford it) and a public medical care system for others who can’t (medicaid). We also have non-profit medical providers which are supported partially by the government and private donations.
Although everyone agrees that change is needed, there are many differing views on which of these two choices would solve it. What we really need is an enlightened economist/philosopher with vision to come along and propose more creative options, new ways of looking at this problem and perhaps rethinking the whole medical structure in this country. I felt that it was important to present this issue as a challenge for a fresh approach to problem solving – something that will be needed to resolve this problem. The following are some of the current issues which have resulted from a mostly republican philosophy, expressed by the current republican administration.
The pharmaceutical companies (with the sanction of the republican administration) control the price of drugs which they claim are high because they need the money to continue researching new drugs for treatment. Yet here in the United States, they spend billions of dollars to advertise new prescription drugs on television, radio and magazines to manipulate the population to put pressure on their doctors to prescribe these medications even though generic drugs are perfectly good to treat most conditions. This money would better be served by putting it into research. Part of the problem is that the pharmaceutical companies are businesses. Their accountability is to their stockholders not the American people. They are in business to make as much profit as they can. Their accountability always remains with their private investors. This is part of the complex problem of solving the Health Care Crisis in this country.
The cost of using HMO’s (also private corporations) have sharply risen for those who have them. When I started paying for an individual policy three years ago, it was approximately $320 a month, and is now just under $650 a month for standard individual coverage. Most HMO’s won’t touch you if you have any pre-existing conditions. That is standard policy with all HMO’s.
Children, the future of the American Culture, go uninsured throughout the country, which is the richest country in the world. People are forced to crowd the emergency rooms because they don’t have the money or the coverage to go to doctors, while the Medicaid system is forced to absorb all these costs and the taxpayers ultimately foot the bill. The Republican Administration enacts laws to prevent people from getting medications from cheaper sources like Canada which they claim is for the benefit of the American population. They reason Canadian drugs have not been proven to be safe for US consumption. The President, and his administration, acting as the grand protector of the United States, will do everything to keep the American population safe, so the propaganda goes.
Anyone who has visited Canada, seen their medical system and the quality of their pharmacies, know that all that is a bunch of governmental fabrications aimed at propping up the American pharmaceutical companies to keep them in control of the costs. Everything that the republican administration has done to date has been more for the benefit of the drug companies than for the American population.
I haven’t even mentioned the FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, that ineffectual, arbitrary, excuse for an organization which has become more of a political arm for the Republican administration, by creating the illusion they exist to protect the American population. I don’t know which is more pathetic: The organization itself, or the people who believe what they say. This is also true of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The politicians go on and on. The republicans would put a band-aide on the medical care system and prop up the HMO’s and other American pharmaceutical companies, and continue to require Americans to pay exorbitant fees for everything medical. The democrats, newly elected to control both senate and House, are still so lukewarm and disorganized about medical care reform that they provide no concrete leadership to rely on to negotiate a reasonable re-haul of the medical care system.
What we should all do is what Peter Finch did in the film NETWORK, where he told people to go to the window, open it up and yell as loud as they could: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” We need to tell, not only the politicians, but the universities, the problem-solvers, the creative thinkers and economists that they need to step forward and propose ideas, any idea. It’s from these kinds of thinkers, with focused and dedicated politicians, that the answer must come.
My solution is simple: Treat this issue like the election of a pope. Take every member of the legislative branch of the government (house and senate) along with the president in a room, and lock it from the outside. Tell them that they will not be allowed out until they find a credible solution to the medical care crisis. If we want an even faster solution, tell them the restrooms will be off-limits.
Although this seems ludicrous, it stems from my personal frustration that solutions to this problem remain bi-polar. No new creative ideas. Who believes the United States can do better? The answer won’t come from politicians alone. They will have to come from all of us.
Environmental Protection Agency
Food and Drug Administration