Friday, August 7, 2009
The Devil We Know
Either a healthcare system is designed to make all people healthier or it’s designed to make a few people wealthier. One is a public welfare system and one is a private system. All the arguments being hurled around about cost and bureaucracy and capitalism vs. socialism and free markets and free loaders and people who had acne 20 years ago aside, our current private healthcare system’s only goal is profit maximization. Big fat “Duh” everyone. Capitalist ventures are first and foremost profit seeking ventures.
It’s pathetic to watch as the country rips at its collective bodice over this when the privateers make absolutely no secret of their motives: charge as much as the market will bear for the least amount of care and let the money trickle up. It is insanity to buy a goat and then berate the goat for being stinky and chewing on things and defecating everywhere. It is a fucking goat!
I have knocked around the idea that Americans aren’t as dumb as the media makes us out to be. So much for that idea! No one in possession of even a tenuous grasp of the nature of capitalism could listen to big pharma and the insurance industry talk about what they are going to do enact real reform in healthcare without laughing out loud or injuring one of those bald faced lying son of a bitches. No one who understands the words “campaign donation” could give credence to the “Kill Granny” shitstorm of misinformation coming from representatives who oppose the public option. Shouldn’t a senator with $3 million healthcare industry dollars in his pocket have to recuse himself from this debate? And no one who is on Medicare should get to say one single word about this to anyone. Ever.
As for the insurance industry asshats who cry about being put out of business by the government. Fuck em! They did a horrible job! They work every possible angle to deny coverage so honest people who paid their premiums lose their life’s savings, their homes, their marriages, their sanity and many of them just die. We wouldn’t be here if they didn’t totally suck at health insurance. The insurance companies in Nazi Germany insisted on paying the claims of the victims of Kristallnacht because they valued their reputations. Our insurance companies won’t pay for breast cancer treatment if you forgot to tell them you once had an ingrown toenail.
For the love of god America, NOT EVERY SERVICE NEEDS TO BE PROFITABLE. Sometimes good things that make us happy and well and better off as a society can’t be provided by free markets. How many times can we lose and lose and lose again before we wake up and see that our laissez- faire religion serves us poorly? It’s ok to take care of each other. It’s ok to be compassionate and non- judgmental. It doesn’t have to be a race with winners and losers on every front of every issue every day.
Cooperative behavior always produces better overall outcomes than competitive behavior. Always. Why do we deplete ourselves and stack the deck against our children to create a fat man who will never be us?
This is Reform? By Bob Herbert