Like Band Aids for Chest Wounds
By Richard Girard
"Of all the anti-social vested interests the worst is the vested interest in ill-health."
George Bernard Shaw (1856--1950), Anglo-Irish playwright and critic. The Doctor's Dilemma, "The Latest Theories," Preface (1911).
"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
Constitution of the World Health Organization (1948).
"The social object of skilled investment should be to defeat the dark forces of time and ignorance which envelope our future."
John Maynard Keynes (1883--1946), British economist. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, book 4, chapter 12, section 5 (1936).
As a rule, I don't do requests.
But when the request comes from a cousin I have known since she was a baby, who is one of the handful of people who receives an advance copy of my articles before publication by OpEdNews.com, I will make an exception.
I believe that the statements I have made in other articles and diary entries ("Teacher's Pet," "Fanfare for the Common Man," "How Much is Enough?," "The Hope for Audacity," "An Opening Manifesto," "Say Something") should make it clear that I favor an affordable, comprehensive, and universal single payer health insurance system, preferably one that is primarily funded by additional taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans, who have doubled their share of the nation's wealth in the last three decades. I would like this system to either be administered by the states (like Medicaid) or the Federal government (like Medicare). Alternately, a tightly regulated system of private insurers who are required by law to provide universally affordable, comprehensive health insurance to the public (like they have in Germany), with subsidies for poorer Americans, and optional "gold-plated supplemental" policies for the rich, would also be acceptable.
What is not acceptable, is our current system, which permits almost 45,000 needless deaths annually (The American Journal of Public Health; December 2009, Volume 99, No. 12 ).
The idea of continually escalating profits, at the expense of human death and suffering, is not acceptable. We should always keep in mind that continuous, unrestrained growth is the philosophy of cancer, not of anything that is, in any sense of the word, healthy.
The American corporations' obsession with continually increasing their "bottom line," at all costs, is destructive to the people employed by those corporations, and to the nation as a whole. This obsession led to the meltdown of the mortgage industry and the financial sector last year, the cannibalization and eventual downsizing of otherwise healthy companies--with a resultant decrease in competition, as well as being at the heart of every American financial crisis for at least the last thirty years.
This has been as true with corporations in the pharmaceutical, health insurance, and healthcare industries as it has any other.