The United States is the last major nation on Earth still tinkering with a “health care” system driven by the profit-motive of a few dozen corporations.
Every other affluent nation has acted on the premise that “Health Care is a Human Right” and have each found their own unique methods to provide it for everyone. Other than Switzerland’s version of privatized, “Obamacare” for all which costs 2/3 of U.S. $10,000+ per person per year, Healthcare in every other nation costs less than half of what U.S. “health care” costs and provide better health outcomes.
The U.S. Taxpayer currently pays 60% of existing for-profit, corporate remedial sick care costs, $6,000 per person per year of the $3.4 Trillion per year total.
How does the profit motive pervert the system?
Delivery of Care: Is centralized into massive, ever more corporate “medical centers” with doctor’s offices (PLLCs) clustered nearby that all must generate ever increasing profits, are less accessible and also tend to default toward the highest cost/highest profit “treatments”.
Drug Corporations (Big PhRMA): have become the most profitable corporations on the Planet by taking publicly funded research, getting exclusive patents on the most “commercial” drugs or minor tweaks to existing drugs, getting FDA approval from their revolving door “regulators” and then spending more money on advertising than R&D while charging extreme “prices”.
Medical and Nursing Schools: Since they are heavily subsidized and influenced by the AMA and Big PhRMA, seats in Medical schools are seriously limited and rationed and the curricula at these schools are heavily weighted toward highly profitable surgery and drugs and away from holistic modalities and the actual provision of Care.
Insurance Corporations: Their profits and perks skim up to 30% of all “health care costs” compared to Medicare’s 2-3% overhead. They need ever-increasing profits, which means ever-increasing PAYMENTS to “providers” and ever-increasing premiums to provide ever-increasing gross income along with ever decreasing “costs” (denial of care) in order to provide the ever-increasing profits that Wall Street demands of them.
The Cure: The easiest, first step toward cure in the United States will be to pass HR676 – Expanded and Improved Medicare for All (which includes dental and vision). This bill removes that last set of profiteers, the insurance corporations that are one of the two major drivers of ever increasing costs, which would immediately save over 15% of existing costs.
It will also provide us with a Big Hammer to use against Big PhRMA to quickly drive down drug costs as every other nation has done.
Then we can work with our medical professionals toward achieving their preference as well as ours; a more accessible Health Care delivery system that is heavily weighted toward providing holistic, complete, effective care rather than delivering corporate profits.
For more information about HR676 go to http://pnhp.org/
The Author is a long time Peace and Social and Economic Justice Activist, musician, farmer, computer professional and recently damaged heart patient/sick care “consumer”. He has been actively involved for decades with the California Nurses Association/NNU, PNHP and other health care professionals and doctors working toward the reformation of the remedial sick care as commodity for profits system by putting in place an effective, affordable Single-Payer System that can drive the repair of the entire broken system.