There’s been a lot of debate about how to fix the healthcare system here in America, but most of our political establishment seems to be blind to this obvious fact: It doesn’t need to be fixed. It needs to be destroyed. We need to take America’s healthcare system out into a field, tell it about the rabbits, and lovingly shoot it in the head. Then dismember it’s bloated corpse, burn it, tie rocks to it, and dump it in the ocean.
That’s because America’s healthcare system isn’t a healthcare system. It has been completely infiltrated and subverted by corporate greed. Our system is immoral to its core.
Here in America, you have to purchase “health insurance” and pay a monthly premium, (usually a large premium) then when you get sick, theoretically, the insurer pays your ridiculous bills. Except that they don’t, whenever they can possibly weasel out of it. Which is quite often.
And so, even for well-to-do Americans with great insurance, if you get hit by a bus, the first thing you’re going to be thinking is, “Oh god, how much is this going to cost?” Just for one example, an acquaintance of mine, a nurse, recently was hit by a car after stopping to assist in an accident. The bill? $350,000 dollars. How much of that will she be responsible for? Nobody fucking knows. You just have to sit and bite your nails for a few months until the insurance company makes up its mind how much of that they feel like they should have to pay. And then you have to call the insurance company and complain, and maybe they’ll lower it a little, and maybe they won’t. This system is deeply, deeply fucked.
And see, here’s the thing. Let’s look at Every. Single. Other. Thing. that you can have insured. A car. A boat. A watch. A house. A diamond ring. How are these all different from a human life? You can a) put a finite monetary value on them, and b) If you can’t afford to insure them, you can live without them.
That’s the heart of the problem, the dirty little secret that nobody seems to notice. You cannot put a monetary value on a human life, and you cannot ask people to do without. The end. Period. And yet, this is exactly what our healthcare system does. It doesn’t “Take care of the sick,” it “takes care of the sick until such time as our profit margins are threatened.”
That’s the thing. This concept is broken at its very core. There is no way to apply a for-profit insurance industry framework to healthcare, without being willing to shut the door on desperate people in their greatest hour of need. Talking about reforming this system is like, I don’t know, deciding to murder kittens with a meat hammer instead of murdering them with a steak knife. It’s like nobody has even considered just not murdering the kittens. Just creating a system where kittens don’t need to be murdered.
I’ve heard all the arguments: It’s too expensive. It’ll never happen. It will put people out of work. It will damage the economy. This is bullshit. It’s all bullshit. Nearly every other first world country has some form of public healthcare. It can work and it does work. What kind of monsters are we, that we won’t even try? Our own fear of socialism and our outdated notions of self-reliance—propped up by billions in advertising and political influence from the Skeksis that profit so handsomely from this broken system—are the only thing preventing it from working.
See, we Americans are big fans of rugged individualism, the concept that we just need to take care of ourselves and nobody else, and we’ll just carve a life out of the wilderness with an axe and a flintlock musket, and if we are Randian supermen, everything will be great. Except it isn’t 1778 anymore. That philosophy worked wonderfully when there weren’t any police, when roads were dirt paths, and when the most a doctor could do for you is saw off a limb or apply leeches.
Today, things are different. There are dozens of things we take for granted that the government provides. Police, fire departments, roads, the military. These are all vital things that nobody could afford by themselves, but if we all just chip in a little, we can afford them, and everyone benefits. When an emergency surgery can run $350,000, it stands to reason that maybe healthcare should be on that list. But oh no. Not here in the U-S-of-A. If that homeless guy breaks his arm, fuck him. If that college kid needs an emergency appendectomy, he’d better just declare bankruptcy.
Maybe I’m a bit radical in my opinion here, but I’d like to see the government nationalize every single health insurer and health management organization. Just switch out the letterheads, and make it into the American National Health Service. The boardroom vultures in charge of these places can have a choice: either walk away, or be charged with murder or attempted murder for every single instance where their company has denied health coverage to someone in need.
And, as an added bonus, all of our conservative television pundits would simultaneously drop dead from brain hemorrhages.
Whew. Felt good to get that one out. /rant.
Afterword: There is only one candidate who, in my opinion, seems willing to do something about this mess, and that’s Bernie Sanders. If this rant strikes a chord with you and you live in one of the twelve states holding primary elections tomorrow, please, please, please, go vote.