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June 22, 2009

The Human Right to Health Care

I find it frightening that the mainstream media's coverage of the health care debate includes absolutely zero advocates of single payer health care. Instead, the Sunday talk shows drone on about what a drain that would be on the capitalist system. Politicians actually lament that if we allow the government to compete in the health care industry, it's a slippery slope to creating government corporations in computer manufacturing and every other capitalist industry.

Then the moderates pipe in that it's a shame Obama is flirting with subsidized health care, but it will be okay if the public option is a thousand and one tiny co-ops, never allowed to amass the scale needed to challenge the for-profit system.

Let's get real, folks. As the majority of US'ians know, health care is a human right, not another financial derivative waiting to be cashed in on. Being a female thyroid cancer survivor should not force me to spend $55 more than the average US'ian at CVS every single month. [My average monthly spend at CVS is $89, whereas the average US monthly spend is $34, according to Mint.com].

I noted my gender in addition to my cancer status because my dear health insurance company determined that I must pay a monthly penalty for choosing name-brand birth control; I am gouged $30 more per month than I was on my previous employer's health insurance plan.

Let's be clear: I did not choose to be susceptible to the environmental damage wreaked on my hometown by decades of military contractors. Since it is vitally important for me to maintain a steady dose of thyroid hormone, and since that hormone reacts to the levels of other hormones in my body, it's necessary for me to take brand-name birth control to ensure I always get the same amount of estrogen in my system. But nevermind all that nonsense, because a profit-seeking medicine gatekeeper decided that I must take generics whenever they are available. I can only be grateful that they didn't decide to gouge me for both medicines I take monthly.

Right, so to bring this personal frustration back to the political sphere, let me just repeat: the state of ease or dis-ease in my body is something for my doctors and me to control. No one should be able to complain that I'm not a great customer because I'm a cancer survivor: I'm a wonderful customer, since I help keep those damn pharmaceutical companies in business!

Do you know the modern health insurance industry was born in the 70s? In forty short years, they've bamboozled us out of more money than any other industrial country and created some of the worst health statistics.

What is so frightening about single payer health care? Is the upper middle class really afraid the poor will over-crowd their hospitals? (This is the argument I heard while waiting 2 hours to be admitted to Cedar-Sinai Hospital for pre-scheduled radiation treatment...as I sat, slightly delirious because I was off my meds, famished because I wasn't supposed to eat 3 hours before swallowing the toxic treatment, in the admitting waiting room while other about-to-be-patients ate their lunch and the entire intake staff took lunch at the exact same time.)

Do people really think government bureaucracy is more inept than corporate bureaucracy? At least the government has citizens' needs as their number one priority. When your primary motivation is profit, what does it matter if you kill someone by denying them treatment?

I'll never understand why more US citizens don't rise up and demand single-payer health care. I'll never understand why the former darling of the Democratic party, Senator Max Baucus refuses to allow single-payer advocates a seat at the negotiating table.

Posted by cj at June 22, 2009 9:44 PM


Thanks for posting about this; it's nice to read an actual lucid argument about the health care "debate".

Posted by: supersatu [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 26, 2009 11:52 AM

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