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Money equals speech is like getting all the healthcare you can afford. And not in a good way.

Essential social goods – political participation and access to necessary health services - are allocated based on ability to pay. When that happens, it’s easy to see who wins and who loses. The gains go to the top and the rest of us have to fight for what we need.

It’s a system worsened by the dynamics of a finance-dominated economy, where such inequalities drive the system. The incentives for big wins, based on big bets, create the search for the most exotic financial instruments. The few who possess the unique asset or the inside knowledge, or the fastest algorithm, win.

Except when they don’t, and when they lose, they lose big. The winnings go to the few, the losses are spread around. Private gains, socialized pain. It would sound familiar to a nurse on the front lines of today’s healthcare “non-system.”

Those with the best private plans get access to the latest technology, the newest drugs, the private rooms in the elite medical centers. Those on Medicaid wait for the few doctors who take it, and often pay more for necessities such as eyeglasses.

Nursing homes are the most expensive form of end-of-life care and are mostly paid for by public programs. The most expensive, and “needy” patients – seniors -- are covered by the social insurance program, Medicare. Except for the wealthiest seniors, of course.  

These are the direct result of a political system that allocates rewards based on ability to pay. Nine out of ten times the candidate who spends the most, wins. The biggest political donors come primarily from a faction of the wealthiest 1 percent.

Court decisions by judges, who themselves usually come from the wealthiest political class, and appointed by politicians funded by those donors, have expanded the equation of money equals speech to the nth degree. Congress responds accordingly.

Though passing social legislation, or other policy changes is difficult and optional, the one item that most pass is the budget. Appropriations is the game in Washington. And the wealthy and the corporate class pay dearly for the access to get their share.

So when it comes to access to healthcare, the insurance companies, the big hospital chains and academic medical centers related to bio-tech and medical research, the pharmaceutical companies all come first.

The system is built around their “needs,” not the patients’ needs, not the needs of society. Costs are for taxpayers, profits are for the corporations and wealthy. It’s the natural order of a pay-to-play system.

Medicare For All

And it’s why we have to change this system once and for all. Two good steps would be to improve and expand Medicare to cover everyone so we have a system based on patient and societal need, not on profits.

And by reversing the money equals speech lunacy with clean money elections - public financing of candidates based on showing real constituent support. We need to end the fiction that corporations are people, by constitutional amendment if necessary.

Originally posted to mlighty on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 09:41 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's all logical, in a way (7+ / 0-)

    Our politics, like our healthcare, are based on the logic of business. Everything has a price and you are free to buy all you can afford - rights, influence, life itself- all for sale to the highest bidder.

    "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

    by Chico David RN on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 10:02:24 AM PDT

  •  Short, sweet, and right on! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, RN4MERCY, covered, lcrp, dotdash2u

    One has access to all the health care one can afford.  That means little to no heath care for most. In the wealthy USA, the position of 37th, or even less, in world health outcomes is appalling, and something I witness daily when on the job as an ICU nurse. Expand and improve Medicare for all is the correct solution. Health care is a human right, not a market commodity.

    To listen and truly hear is to learn.

    by katnurseadvocate on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 07:32:21 PM PDT

  •  We know how to fix nearly all of our problems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RN4MERCY, third Party please

    We have all knowledge to deal with all of our problems.

    We know how to ease global warming

    We know how to narrow the wealth gap

    We know how to end our reliance on fossil fuels

    We know how to provide healthcare for all

    We know how to educate ALL of our children (and workforce)

    We know how to feed all of our people

    We know how to protect our citizens from inclement weather

    And we know how a banking system should be overseen

    We just choose to elect people who do not want to properly govern.

    We do not know how to get money out of politics.

    i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

    by bobinson on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 08:38:54 PM PDT

    •  I think we do know (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think you are correct that we DO know how to fix all those problems you mentioned.

      I also think we DO know how to get money out of politics.

      It's pretty simple: outlaw ALL private donations to politicians and make ALL elections publicly funded.

      When office-holders are no longer beholden to the wealthy and corporate interests for money to run a campaign, office-holders will no longer be forced to do the bidding of those wealthy interests.

      This is not to say this will be easy to accomplish.  The wealthy and corporate interests will fight against such a change and use their influence on our law-makers to fight against such a change.

      But if we can accomplish this change to public financing of elections, we can then go about fixing all those other things: easing climate change, healthcare resources available for all, education for all, policing the banks and financial institutions, etc.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:26:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The United States is alone (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Santa Susanna Kid, dotdash2u

    ...among the wealthy developed countries in not providing universal coverage through some form of socialized (some prefer the term "civilized") health-care insurance.  According to the Institute of Medicine, the uninsured are not shut out of health care altogether, since they obtain some care at public hospitals and neighborhood clinics, but the medical care they get is “too little, too late.”

    Being sicker when care is obtained, or getting inadequate continuity of care has a significant impact on health outcomes, leading to higher morbidity and mortality rates.

    Too little, too late! Shameful because we know how to fix this and we don't have to reinvent the wheel to do it. Expand it, improve it: MEDICARE for All-for life!

  •  Don't forget the legal system (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As you point out, we are a money-based society.

    This holds true for our legal system: here in America, you get all the justice you can afford.

    So wealthy bankers commit crimes and go free, and imporvished inner-city youths get "stopped and frisked" for walking down the street and go to prison.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:30:02 AM PDT

    •  It wasn't that way once. (0+ / 0-)

      It can be not this way again.

      This boy is Ignorance and this girl is Want. Beware them both, but most of all beware this boy for on his brow I see that written which is Doom.” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

      by nolagrl on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 12:51:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wake up! (0+ / 0-)

        How does one wake up a sleeping and narcotized society?  We are preaching to the choir here. The last time the populous pushed the "political will" to do something for the General Welfare was in the 1960's when the many environmental laws in place today were passed, not to mention Medicare.  Just think...if we could wake the general public to activism, so they would all vote, and they would all vote out of office politicians who do not have the "political will" to support expanded and improved Medicare for all...and support change for all the other devastating social ills listed above.......until then one shall have access to all the health care one can afford.  We must all help to wake up the populous....follow the nurses.

        To listen and truly hear is to learn.

        by katnurseadvocate on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 08:05:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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