As a citizen of the last industrialized nation without nationalized universal health care, it is particularly disheartening to watch the conservatives attempting to repeal the half-a-loaf legislation that is the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).
Where is our moral compass pointed when the replacement legislation will most adversely affect the elderly, the sick and the indigent?
The wealthy of this nation are apparently not interested in the rest of America being healthy. If there is a dollar to be made on the misfortunes of others, the oligarchy will focus on repairing the broken body parts, masking the symptoms and only occasionally treating the illness, all at a tidy profit margin – you may be certain.
The financial elite want the best health care they can afford. As for the disadvantaged the advice continues to be: “Stop being poor!”
During one of the myriad ACA repeal efforts, Rep. Alan Grayson offered a succinct evaluation of the Republican vision for American health care when he quipped, “First, do not get sick. If you do get sick, die quickly.”
If good health were really a national priority, we would be having long deliberations about the maintenance of health instead of simply waiting for our bodies to fail.
We might begin with a national debate on the potential relationship between refined carbohydrates and the epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes. A reduction in those two afflictions would offer tremendous savings in the costs of health care. Will the lobbyists for the sugar industry passively stand by for a reduction in their share of the food market? How much money do pharmaceutical companies make on insulin?
We could continue with a national discourse regarding the concerns of citizens living in the pollution fallout zones of industrial polluters and the elevated levels of cancer and lung disease surrounding smokestacks. When will providing for the general welfare finally take precedence over acquiescing to every whim of the investor class? Again, how much money does Big Pharma make on chemotherapy?
The 12,000 deaths and 20,000 injuries by gunshot each year might be debated as a public health issue were it not for the all-powerful gun lobbyist that claims gun ownership as an absolute right that may not be regulated.
The right to profit should not be absolute. Just as a citizen cannot yell fire in a crowded theater, a corporation should not be permitted to engage in practices that are harmful to the citizenry. At the very least, a portion of corporate profits should be dedicated to a national health care plan as a protection against the law of unintended consequences.
Unfortunately, the economically privileged are not interested in your health because your well-being generates no profit.