I listened to a conversation today about why people don’t have good healthcare. Each person had a different view.
- I had healthcare until Obamacare came along.
- I didn’t have healthcare until Obamacare came along.
- My healthcare has never been affordable until now.
- My healthcare became unaffordable once Obamacare was introduced.
All of these things are true and all of them are false. Each exists because of a host of conditions: healthcare providers, exchanges, hospital costs, pharmaceutical companies, federal funding, state participation in the programs. Each of these variables changed for each person, each location, each state, each fund, and two dozen other variables.
The truth is exceedingly simple. As long as profit is the goal, there will never be truly affordable healthcare in this nation. No insurance company wants to pay out. Never. They want to keep you giving them your money so they can invest it and make money on the stock market.
And its never going to change. The numbers bear this out.
One-quarter of privately insured working-age adults have high health care cost burdens relative to their incomes in 2015, according to the Commonwealth Fund Health Care Affordability Index, a comprehensive measure of consumer health care costs. This figure, which is based on a nationally representative sample of people with private insurance who are mainly covered by employer plans, is statistically unchanged from 2014. When looking specifically at adults with low incomes, more than half have high cost burdens. In addition, when privately insured adults were asked how they rated their affordability, greater shares reported their premiums and deductible costs were difficult or impossible to afford than the Index would suggest. Health plan deductibles and copayments had negative effects on many people’s willingness to get needed health care or fill prescriptions. In addition, many consumers are confused about which services are free to them and which count toward their deductible.
The Unvarnished Truth
As long as insurance companies can put people in office through their campaign contributions, as long as politicians can lie to their constituents about how much they care, as long as people in power have the ability to avoid participating in our society through fair applications of taxation and infrastructure support, we will have the society we live in.
It will remain unfair to everyone except the rich who can pay for whatever they want to have at the expense of the Commons. They will have the best food, best water, cleanest environments while the rest of us wallow in filth for as long as we don’t revolt against them to create parity or a biological event such as plague doesn’t balance the score as it has in the past.
No civilization which has ever existed before today has ever balanced the scales when economic disparity reached dangerous proportions. Those societies fell through war, through disease, or through external unexpected forces.
If our goal is to be a society with true fairness, with elected officials who understand the needs of the people they represent, we must take the reins of how people are elected and how national priorities are determined. We must remove gerrymandering. We must remove the idea of voter manipulation; everyone should have the capacity to vote as soon as they have the capacity to be sent to war. No one should ever lose that right, whether they go to prison or not. Abolish the electoral college, it no longer serves anyone except for the power-brokers who can manipulate it for their own benefit. If every person’s vote is to indeed matter, then let the popular vote do the job it was intended for.
Stop dividing the nation into rural and cosmopolitan areas. Use some of this nation’s once great brainpower and find new ways to elect officials. Find new ways of directing what we call leadership and make it stick. Are we a nation seeking to have a future? Or are we just a system for creating wealth for the rich and no one else?
Nations which wanted socialized healthcare made it happen. They decided their future should be one where individuals shouldn’t lose all they have to be able to be healthy. They don’t allow the creation of false wealth through exploitation of people’s need for healthcare to be the driving force for their health programs.
Nations which decided healthcare is a basic right, not something to be sold, but something to be given to every citizen as part of the contract between a nation and her citizens. When a civilization places value upon every life, their health, their education, their prosperity, their quality of life, and their care as they age, these nations are going to be more creative, more adaptable, more effective, more efficient, even if, from time to time, the challenge of having intelligent citizens may make for fractious times.
The alternative is to have a nation where everything balances on the ability to deceive the members of your society, keeping them ignorant, exploiting that ignorance, until one day they realize you have been deceiving them. It may take a while but one day THEY WILL REALIZE IT.
Then your nation is destroyed or becomes a terrifying police state where no innovation save the urge to be free, can be discovered. In the meantime, nothing good forms. No good can be had. Creative people are suppressed if not killed outright.
This is the nature of the world we are rapidly approaching. We have people questioning the very nature of corporate power, questioning why corporations need more power, why they need less regulation, why they should be considered citizens exempt from paying taxes or contributing to the common good.
This status quo cannot last and unless something changes, our nation as a bastion of freedom and liberty, founded on a Constitutional promise of every man being equal, has been nothing more than a slightly more successful experiment which has lasted less than two hundred years and shouldn’t be considered successful.
If this polarized, inbred, highly manipulated, thing masquerading as a government can’t be fixed, do we have any reason to consider ourselves civilized if the best we can do is to put the old, the infirm, the mentally ill, children and the poor on the street to die?
We can call them homeless, the mentally ill, the indigent, people unwilling to work, deplorables… insert whatever word works for you; in the end, only the wealthy will have what they need to survive, keeping you in your place: starving, desperate to survive, and lacking the will, intelligence or capacity to make any choices which can improve your life as you know it. Living in filthy conditions, breathing toxic air, giving birth to misshapen children and lamenting your condition, one you helped to create by voting against your own interests.
This is the truth as it is, not as we want to see it. Each American believes themselves an embarrassed millionaire when the truth is more simple. You are an exploited puppet, made of balsa, fragile, mostly broken, with delusions of greatness.
If you want more than what you get right now, you will have to demand it. You will have to fight for it. Likely, many of us will die for it.
We will die in hospitals. We will die homeless. We will die unexpectedly behind the wheel falling asleep working too many hours for not enough pay. We will die so that someone else can grow wealthy. Without any understanding of the greater game.
Just the way they want you to be.
Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. You can follow him on Twitter or support his writings on Patreon. But one of the best ways to show you care is to share this story.