Friday, July 17, 2009

Playing Russian roulette with your life.

American Jews should support national single payer healthcare, and not just because of what for-profit private insurance is costing us (as was discussed in the last post)

The scare tactics used by for-profit health insurance companies and for-profit healthcare providers is to claim that things would be "worse" or even "horrible" under a single-payer healthcare system. But the fact is when healthcare is treated as a profit-making cash cow instead of a basic human right, the result is not only unethical but downright anti-Torah results. We are not supposed to stand by while our brother's blood is shed, but for-profit healthcare is killing people every day. There aren't thousands of people in Europe or Israel dropping dead every day from lack of health care - that only happens in America. Every other industrialized nation provides national healthcare for their citizens. Only the US allows people to die on the street because for-profit insurance companies drop them at the first sign of a serious illness. It is simply unethical to refuse to treat the sick - it's a violation of Torah.

Real Clear Politics
July 15, 2009
Socialized Medicine? Bring It On
By Richard Cohen

...Many, if not most, Americans have some sort of experience with our nation's mostly private health care system. Yet they still fall prey to the scare tactic that nothing -- but nothing -- could be worse than a government takeover of the system. How things could be worse than they are now, I cannot imagine.

In the last two months, I have spent many hours accompanying a loved one to hospital emergency rooms -- all of them privately operated...

...In one hospital there was not enough space in the emergency room to accommodate all those seeking treatment. My friend got moved from a bed -- where she was relatively comfortable -- to a wheelchair in the hallway. There she sat, in agony, for about six hours. Something similar happened at another emergency room, although this time she was given a cot. The wait, though, was just as long.

The emergency room has become the equivalent of the family doctor. It is where you go if you don't have a family doctor or where you go if you do have a family doctor -- and it's after hours or the weekend...

...The other day, Bill Moyers interviewed Wendell Potter about health care and such matters. Potter is the former head of corporate communications for Cigna, the nation's fourth largest health insurer. By his own characterization, he is one of those insurance executives who flew from meeting to meeting in private planes and hardly ever touched ground to meet real people. One day he did. He went to an outdoor health clinic over the Virginia border from his hometown in Tennessee. This is what he told Moyers:

"What I saw were doctors who were set up to provide care in animal stalls. Or they'd erected tents to care for people ... and I saw people lined up. Standing in line or sitting in these long, long lines, waiting to get care...

...[Richard in his article continues by saying] I was also Cohen of Claims when I worked for an insurance company. This means that whenever someone says something about "government bureaucrats," I smile because I was once a non-government bureaucrat. It is not government bureaucrats who say that certain treatments will not be covered, and it is not the government that purges insurance rolls of the sick or the old, and it is not the government that makes money -- lots of money -- on health insurance. It is private enterprise.

But as Potter points out, the insurance industry sets out to spook the public with talk of "socialized medicine" and "government bureaucrats" and "government-run health care." My loved one recently had to return to the emergency room because she was dehydrated. Her insurance company listed the reasons someone could return and dehydration was one of them. They still denied her claim. The government had nothing to do with it...

I also have worked in insurance in the past and can affirm that they use means that are both unethical and borderline illegal, and in many cases completely illegal, to deny medical to their "customers." They hope that the "customer" lacks the resources to challenge them, and for the most part they are correct.

The point, of course, that when you become sick you shouldn't HAVE to hire an attorney to get the benefits you paid for. Nor should you have to find out that the policy you bought doesn't even cover your illness. For-profit health insurance cherry-picks what "customers" and what illnesses they are willing to cover.


Those who are wealthy enough to hire an attorney can challenge the companies and get their care paid for. Everyone else gets second-rate care or no care at all - and that's just the way the insurance companies WANT it. Your death means more profit for them, since usually your family will still have to pay the family rate even if you die so that your spouse and children still have coverage (supposedly).

Cutting people's policy off if they get an expensive illness and leaving them to die or dumping them onto Medicaid is what for-profit insurers are doing RIGHT NOW.

THIS IS HEALTH CARE RATIONING, and it is nothing more than child and elder abuse for money by fat-cat CEOs and the other Robber Barons who run the for-profit corporations that "provide" healthcare (for the not too sick).


It can't be, class. Everybody should be able to receive basic medical care, and receive the standard treatment for what diseases, illnesses or injuries they sustain. ONLY single-payer nation non-profit healthcare guarantees everyone's basic human right to healthcare. ONLY single-payer national non-profit healthcare has provided the higher life expectancies and lower infant mortality rates that other First World nations enjoy.

American companies let old people and children die, for profit.

And you're letting them.

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