Our Elected Leader BELIEVES This Falsehood To Be True
I hope this era of “our elected leader BELIEVES this falsehood to be true” is just a grim blip in our history.
I blame the wealth. Because I’ve met more than a handful of exorbitantly wealthy people who think they are funny and generally do not know the truth because the people around them make money off their happiness and have no incentive to correct their boss. They’re called “yes men.” Watch Florence Foster Henderson for a delightful and innocuous example of this phenomenon.
I think there are many reasons why we can’t expect the free market to solve the health care problem, especially within the existing framework. For one thing, Capitalism works on supply and demand, and literally every person is constantly demanding not to die. And because doctors are trained for 8 years, there is very little way for a consumer to understand if they are given the best care. Especially because your provider is dictated by your insurance and most people’s insurance is dictated by their job. So consumers don’t have real flexibility to switch providers to evade substandard or overpriced care. And because your insurance dictates the price you pay, and that happens AFTER you receive treatment and services, there is no way to price compare. I pay $1200/year on health insurance, have not been sick even once in the last year but had my doctor examine two things (that were literally nothing, took 15 minutes, one used one plastic tool, never was prescribed anything) and paid $600 out of pocket for those. For being 100% healthy. I even called my insurance to request an itemized list of prices for procedures as I get them and was essentially told that that is impossible. So I don’t see how Capitalism can work in this environment. I mean, obviously super rich people can delegate someone to do massive research to find the best care for what ails them, but your average person doesn’t have the time or resources to even discern what will be best for them. Also, a lot of it involves predicting your future health, which is impossible. Also, insurance companies are using the demand for health care to profiteer on people’s health. And lastly, aside from not murdering patients, I cannot see a whole lot of incentive for actually making a patient better (vs. keeping them on drugs and coming in for visits). And lastly, health care shouldn’t be a luxury that you can go without while shopping the market. We are entitled to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. If some people want to grind their lives down to get a boat or whatever, that is their business. But the certain people who are profit-motivated above all else shouldn’t be the only people who survive to old age.
The system is based on the idea that young people are paying more into the system than needed in order to offset older people’s costs and in theory I am fine with that. But costs are artificially high, I believe because 1) when people are uninsured they don’t get preventative care and by the time they end up in the hospital, their ailment is way more awful and expensive 2) there is a massive industry dedicated to persuading doctors to prescribe their patented drugs, 3) you can pay the FDA to test drugs faster so generic versions don’t go through the system as quickly, 4) You need 8 years of education whether you become a general practitioner or a specialist but specialists are paid more money so more people decide to pursue that path which means there are more specialists than necessary and less general practitioners than can meet demand. There is incentive to send you to a specialist. 5) Americans still think more is better and insist upon statistically unnecessary tests “just to be sure” that could either cause them to find something that they will put you in treatment for but would never have killed you in your lifetime (colon cancer) or the tests could cause problems in the future (i.e. radiation from ultrasounds).
I feel like we give Capitalism credit for all of the innovation and progress made, but we use Capitalism AND Democratic Socialism and you can’t say that their combined efforts aren’t what make this country great and allow our best and brightest to excel. I just think we need healthcare to fall under the Democratic Socialism side and the best way, that is proven at least on a smaller scale, is single-payer. Capitalism allows businesses to compete for the cream to rise to the top. Democratic Socialism makes sure that individuals don’t die when the company they work for fails (which is common in Capitalism, the same as how sports teams lose — it’s a product of the competition).
We both agree that the health care isn’t conducive to the benefits of the free market. What is the alternative? We do have a postal service. We do have a DMV. We do have Medicare. And I know that people bitch about those things a lot, but conversely, I can’t remember the last time my package truly got lost in the mail and the experiences I’ve had at the DMV in the last 4 years have been manageable. And at least in theory the government employees are elected and answer to us. In reality it is more convoluted I know, but you can’t put people whose #1 priority is the profit margin for their company and say that they will surely do better than the government. Not when the checks that make capitalism a working model are not in place. Plus, we do place all our faith in the military which is also government run and operated. There are substantial waste problems within the military, but since we started using privatized contractors to delegate aspects of the military, it is not clear whether the government saves money, but even if they do, it’s because the American men who work for these contractors don’t receive the benefits that the government guarantees soldiers (and families of soldiers). And there have also been a lot of human rights violations by these contractors who are not accountable to the government/ military and have no military honor to besmirch.
I’m just saying, defunding aspects of the government and then claiming the government is functionally useless is a clear self-fulfilling prophesy.
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