"L'audace, l'audace, tojours l'audace!" (Audacity, audacity, always audacity!) motto of Frederick the Great of Prussia (1712-1786).
"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." John F. Kennedy (1917-63), U.S. Democratic politician, Thirty-fifth President of the United States. Inaugural address, 20 January 1961, Washington, D.C.
"To save all we must risk all."
Friedrich Von Schiller(1759-1805), German dramatist, poet, essayist. Fiesco, in Fiesco, act 4, scene 6.
The fight over healthcare in the Congress is reaching a crescendo. The iniquitous servants of the healthcare industryincluding the Congressional Republicans and blue dog Democratsare doing everything within their power to prevent any meaningful reform of our broken system, which represents one-sixth of our nation's economy, and before the end of the next decade, one-fifth.
This is not a sustainable economic model. It is not (despite the media propaganda) the fault of the lawyers, and the massive costs involving lawsuits over malpractice and bad reactions to drugs that drag on for years. The lawsuits instigated by private individuals represent fewer than twenty percent of the total heard by our courts. Most lawsuits are corporation versus corporation. This in turn is the reason that lawsuits have become so expensive, because the corporate behemoths try to spend each other into submission, rather than try the merits of the case.
So where did our healthcare system start going wrong? I would say that it began to go wrong in the moment that the practice of medicine took a backseat to profit.
I know, from personal experience when I was a kid, that finding pro bono, or any sort of reduced cost healthcare, was at best hit or miss proposition, especially in metropolitan areas. The newest treatments (including radiation and chemotherapy) were routinely denied to the poorest Americans. Prescriptions and other treatments for various illnesses were often limited, both in utility and availability, but especially in the area of mental illness.
You see a very similar degree of disingenuousness when people talk about the problems of the Canadian healthcare system, especially the "waiting lists."
The waiting list in Canada sometimes does exist, almost exclusively for non-critical procedures. This usually happens when the Canadian national or provincial governments underfund their healthcare programs. This happens when their conservative politicians are in power. Cutting healthcare funding is their favorite way of reducing a budget deficit, just as cutting education is in this country.
Opponents of a national healthcare system also neglect to mention that American HMO's and health insurance companies also have waiting lists and the rationing of care, at times even for critical or emergency situations. This is done for no other reason than maintaining the highest possible level of profitability for their shareholders. And unlike the Canadian national healthcare system, the American insurance companies and HMO's will deny you coverage because of preexisting conditions.
Understand, I have nothing against a business making a profit. I have everything against profiteering, especially when human lives and human well-being are at stake.
This leads to a very important question, the scope of which goes beyond mere healthcare profits, or even profits in general: how much money is enough?
I would answer that it is at the moment that wealth, or the acquisition of further wealth, or the power that is concomitant with great wealth, becomes more important than the lives and well-being of human beings.
My primary test for evil (something that is inherently and irredeemably wrong) is this: does it place the importance of things ahead of the importance of people, or alternately, does it require us to begin looking at humans as things, and not as human beings. These two complimentary phenomenon tend to occur simultaneously, and are nearly perfect barometers for uncaring depravity in a particular human soul.
By this test, placing the payment of a shareholders' dividend (which is most assuredly a thing) above the life and health of human beings is an evil act.