US Healthcare Is A Tragedy, Not A Success
Poverty, illness and desperation are a tragic trio and destroy unknown numbers of lives.
One story that broke my heart was that of a sweet young thing, age 23, who had inherited nothing from her father but a disease.
She needed a “specialty medicine” for it — one of those medicines that is so expensive that nobody seems to want to pay for it. But she lost her job due to “downsizing” so she had no insurance and no money.
What she did have were two children, aged three and five, and no husband. The children’s dad had cheated on her and was long gone.
Nobody would pay for the medicine she needed, and she could not afford it.
She told her family what she was going to do, and nobody believed her — but her sister agreed to keep the kids.
She broke into the office of someone whom she knew had a company, and stole enough money to buy the medicine.
She was caught and went to prison.
Finally, through the prison health care, she got her medicine.
I’ve written before about someone who decided the best healthcare plan he could get would be to commit a crime and make sure he got caught so he could go to prison. This is surely the depths of desperation.
This poor single mother figured that her kids would be better off with a jailbird for a mother than no mother at all.
She sacrificed her freedom and the relationship with her children for healthcare.
She is out now, with a felony record for life, and a family that helps her raise the money for the medicine any which way they can.
But this is not a happy ending.
This is wrong.
I am angry that people in the most affluent country on Earth with the highest technology in healthcare are forced to literally buy their lives, and circumstances beyond their control have made it so they do not have the money to do so.
In France, where I had the honor of doing my initial training, I never heard of this happening. They had socialized medicine so this never would happen.
The USA is fighting tooth and nail to keep socialized medicine out of the picture. The moneyed corporations who would stand to see their profit margins shrink (not vanish, but simply reduce) have waged powerful war including flooding our lawmakers with campaign contributions and very persuasive lobbyists, and flooding our corporate-controlled media with propaganda and disinformation.
Although there is a leftist presence in France, they are not “commies” – Not in the Eisenhower/Nixon Cold War sense of things. They believe people should band together and pool their resources for the common good.
The French who taught me medicine and those who studied alongside me feared I would think they were the kind of monsters that America had accused the Russians and the Chinese and the North Koreans and the North Vietnamese of being .
They were afraid I had been brainwashed.
Say what you will about documentarian Michael Moore’s “Sicko” – it contains a lot of truth, even if you don’t agree with his conclusions or the cheap shots he takes or the way he cherry picks certain facts.
In socialized medicine French-style, doctors are not poor. The public benefits from mobile intensive units in vans operated by senior medical students and can totally bypass ER trips.
I know. I worked my way through medical school riding such a French emergency vehicle – working as what Americans call an EMT.
This is the only medical system I personally know other than the American. It may have been a long time ago, but I still know a little about what it is now.
True to political obfuscation, our debate over healthcare has been nudged in the wrong direction. Our politicians and media are debating access to care — limited care, rationing of care, sometimes downright wrong or bad or nonexistent care.
Contrary to claims from those leading the debate, we have put a price on human life.
We already have a patchwork of socialized medical care and private insurance.
The system does not work.
The answers are all around us. Every country in the world has faced these problems and there are some brilliant solutions if we can rise above national pride and keep away from condemning political systems that threaten American Corporate profits.
We can have terrific healthcare at affordable costs and use our tax money to take care of our people rather than to expand our global empire for the sake of short-term stock market gains.
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