While sitting down at a table at Starbucks preparing for my latest Politics Done Right radio show at KPFT 90.1 FM a doctor friend of mine got into a conversation with another doctor. After snooping on the conversation for a few minutes, I was compelled to interject a few statements.
The doctor was telling my friend how hard he has to work. It seemed like he may have been an emergency room or a similar type of doctor. He was complaining vociferously that his workload was steadily increasing as they put more requirements on him and as they cut the number of nurses to save money.
After listening to the doctor’s frustration, I got frustrated. Why? Many of these same doctors are resistant to real healthcare reform. I decided to interject the conversation.
I told the doctor that it is frustrating to listen to his tribulation knowing many like him do not support Single-Payer Medicare for All which by definition would solve his problem. He quickly jumped to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), displaying a disdain I see from many but, I fail to understand.
He belittled AOC, so I asked him what specifically she said that was dumb in his opinion. He could not immediately recall anything. He then said that we couldn’t afford the Medicare for All that most Progressives support.
I asked him why we should lose 20% or more of premiums to pay a bill? Ultimately he seemed to agree that a single-payer would be beneficial.
He still was not convinced we could realize more savings. I pointed out that most drugs’ proof of concept research and development are paid for by U.S. tax dollars. When these drugs become marketable, private companies take over, and jack up the price. The taxpayer gets no return on investment. Change that model, and we make billions for the “we-the-people” coffers. He agreed.
Then I said that there were even more savings. It cost too much to go to medical school. I told the doctor that if we subsidized medical student education, doctors would not have to work as hard as he does to pay bills. I think he could see how practical these policies are, but he also saw the path I was taking him down. After he sort of agreed about subsidizing medical school he recoiled and just blurted out, “I am not a socialist.”
We ended the conversation on a positive note. I told him I was on his side. He was cordial and gave me the impression that he was thinking through some of the stuff.
Indoctrination and ideology are powerful. This doctor was unable to see that the current system enslaves him by design and the one he fears liberates him.
The plutocrats that do very little work, the ones who like to brag that their capital works for them, enslaves this doctor. They pay him very well which is like the crack that causes him to work ever more hours as he protects his master.
Here is the sad reality. Our economic system capitalizes and commoditizes everything. An economic system where the owners of capital grow faster than the economy as a whole requires taking a bit more from the classes below.
What does that mean in healthcare? To ensure the wealthy continue to grow at these higher rates require several behaviors; reduction in staff and forcing some to work much hard likely for no marginal pay increases. It means insurance companies denying coverage for medicines and procedures based solely on the bottom line and not some medical reasons.
Doctors must borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars from banks who charge less than optimal interest rates
most of the times. They are forced to pay high fees. It is nothing but a transfer of their wealth to the bankers as they pay off loans.
We can replicate this scenario for family leave and many other areas where we are enslaved by the wealthy few willingly. They achieve this because they’ve indoctrinated us into the belief that these people are worthy or really earned their wealth.
The stockholders of the hospitals and insurance companies who own the doctor make an unearned profit from his labor. And to keep a high growth rate they must squeeze the doctor and deny health coverage.
Migration to a well-designed healthcare system would dramatically reduce the doctor’s workload. He could charge more reasonable rates since we would subsidize his medical schooling. We could force drug companies to lower prices, or we-the-people could manufacture the drugs. We could eliminate private health insurance for basic healthcare. Private insurance can always sell high-end products (petal covered beds) if some want that. Doctors can get rid of most of their administrative tasks given that they only need to submit their bill to the government for payment.
Single-Payer Medicare for All is the answer. As we get rid of the minutia and spend the time to break things down, I am sure it will become clear to most.