Wednesday, October 7, 2009

‘M’ in healthcare stands for “money,” not “medicine”

Critical care is badly needed for the United States’ ailing heathcare non-system. We as a nation are being bullied by the “medical industry” into paying a 50% markup for medical care that does not anywhere compete with other “First World” nations’ quality of care and medical delivery systems.

Film producer Alex Gibney (Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room) offers a documentary film based on Maggie Mahar’s book, Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much. This informative film is about how US medical care comes through a free-market enterprise and not through a “health care system.” Most nations have medical systems, loosely designed to treat the patients like citizens instead of like profit centers. Bill Moyers’ Journal offers a shortened version of this truth-daring film.

Mahar clears up the mystery of the “medical industrial complex” that feeds off those it cultivates like farm products. “Informed consent is informed persuasion” speaks to the hard sell with missing and superfluous information directed slightly above the head of the investor or person who happens to own the body being treated. This hard sell for medical care is directed at patients, their families, employers, our state governments, and federal politicians.

We are not getting the bang for our bucks. The cost of service is grossly inflated. We are getting sicker and the health care industry loves it for they are making money on the backs of our sick.

“Show me the money” is being cried from both sides of our recent health reform debate. Maggie Mahar shows us where the money is hidden. Money mysteries of this cryptic social institution have highly specialized language. Few of us are expected to understand, let alone read in a thousand-page bill. That includes every lawmaker in Washington which is why they have research staff.

But all this artificial confusion can and will be resolved once this moment in our history becomes infused with humanity and civility. We need to apply the Golden Rule. We need to set our prioities for American assets. Do we want sick Americans and healthy warheads? If we are the "Best Country in the World," it's time we start to act that way by caring for the weakest among us.

Other countries have fixed this and so can the Unitied States. Other countries know better than to place their employers in the impossible position of providing both a decent workplace and healthcare. The world is watching us Americans while we push, prod, shove then rob the sick, the elderly, and our children. Now there’s some real bullying!

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