After watching some of the Bill Moyer's Journal episode on Money-Driven Medicine, I am angry, disgusted, and completely unsurprised. The state of health care in this country closely parallels the state of transportation, and energy policy, and construction, and consumption, and industry in general. When life consistently shows up on a priority list below money, then capitalism has morphed into death worship.
The status quo is heinous. Co-ops are a ragged fig leaf. A public option is a carrot on a stick, ever receding into the distance (2013, anyone? 2018?). Single payer, on the other hand, is an excellent beginning toward bringing down the vampire capitalism of the insurance companies. But only the insurance companies. What about the hospitals? What about Big Pharma? What about physicians who refer patients to their own corporations? What about the shortage of general practitioners? What about the medical schools?
In every nook and cranny of health care, the engine of capitalism has been driven to a death-worshipping extreme. Single payer might be enough in other countries, where the corporate elite has not so badly mauled every part of the economy. From insurance company denials and rescissions to $40 aspirins to hospitals competing with multimillion dollar imagers to construction beyond reason to $300 office visits, the mad race to pile up more and more money for those at the top has crippled, bankrupted, and killed a huge number of people.
It is long past time for implementing that idea most heretical to the dominant Church of Capitalism. We need more socialism. The corporatists understand that a public option could be the camel's nose under the tent, and are unrelenting and amoral in their resistance. The Democratic Party has been feeble in its response, probably because so many of them take it as a given that capitalism is a wonderful thing. Well, it's not. It's a wild dog that need to be controlled.
I don't want my money going to obscene compensation for those at the very top, for building more and fancier hospitals, for enriching physician corporations, or for maximizing profit for corporations. I want it to go to preventive care, to payroll for doctors employed by the government, to reining in skyrocketing drug prices. I want a comprehensive health system financed through taxes.
I want National Health Service.
Compromise? OK, I promise not to push for stringing up the insurance and pharma CEOs.