Have you been to a hospital complex lately? In Houston, they are constantly building them or upgrading them. They are beautiful. But the healthcare they provide sucks your wealth and out tax dollars. It is an evil enterprise. And here is why.
I owned a software development company. I have always carried my own private insurance with very high deductibles, co-pays, and premiums. I could afford it then but understood why a large portion of Americans not getting employer healthcare had to go without.
If I added all the premiums I've paid over the years, I have paid out many times more than I received in services. Theoretically, that is okay. In pure insurance parlance, they bet you will not get sick enough to be a risk to them and you bet the converse. And if you lose you win because you are marginally healthy at least.
Our economic system attempts to make everything a product. The thing is, most products are real choices. Basic healthcare isn't. You break a leg, you cannot easily shop around. You get cancer, in a humane system, you would not forego care because you cannot afford it. In fact, that statement alone is immoral. It degrades into an ability to pay else suffering and/or death. An economic system in a civilized society should be based on everyone having basic healthcare as a part of said system. Roads are not an afterthought. They are necessary for a functioning society. We have a tendency to have an economic system that reveres capital and penalizes humanity. This touches everyone if they live a full life in the long run.
Watch and understand our inhumane healthcare system
It was about 1:30 PM on Christmas day. All of our family started arriving for our 2:00 PM meal. Linda, my wife, set the time. Everyone knows whether you are present or not, dinner service will begin. This Christmas would be different and it is life-changing.
While taking a shower, Linda ran into the bathroom. "My mother is not talking, and her mouth is twisted to one side," she said. "I am calling 9-1-1."
Granny was sitting on the couch catatonic. By the time I got to the room, my daughter who was home for her break -- she is a 3rd-year med student -- was already doing pupil dilation tests and some other stuff. She looked at me with grave concern.
"Yes dad," she said. "It is a stroke. A bad one."
Linda was helping Granny up the stairs the night before and her right knee gave out. She said she felt dizzy. We took her to the emergency room, they did some tests, gave her Tylenol and sent her back home even though she could hardly walk. On the morning of the day of the stroke, she felt somewhat better but my daughter said the stroke was likely in progress from the night before and likely may have been caught before it got as bad. My mother-in-law's Medicare is handled by Wellcare, a private company. It is clear, the intent of the hospital was to do as little as possible. Does profit maximization at the expense of the patient come to mind?
The most sickening portion of the incident occurred when the paramedics got to the house. The first thing they did before even touching her was to ask about insurance. We told them she was on Medicare. They wanted to see the card. My wife was a bit frazzled and could not find the card in granny's purse. They acted like they would not load her in the ambulance given the manner in which he said he needed the card. When Linda gave them the card, they loaded her up and they were off to the hospital.
Granny had a procedure that went through her groin into her brain to extract the blood clot. He showed us before and after blood flow pictures. Granny is responsive, smiles, and seems to understand, but cannot speak, swallow, or stand. The hospital says that is all they can do and that the family must get her out of there and into a facility.
Granny is on Social Security (very small check as she had low paying jobs), Medicare via WellCare, and no kind of senior care insurance. She could not afford it. It is then one realizes how evil, immoral, and flawed our system is for those who least can afford healthcare.
Medicare will provide living services for a few months and rehabilitation for a few weeks. For all practical purposes after that, you are on your own on the order of several thousand dollars a month. It is a process that means you must give any accumulated wealth you have acquired over your lifetime to these profit centers masquerading as healthcare delivery services. Then and only then does one qualify for Medicaid, after destitution. They act as those cleanup parasites designed to take all the accumulated wealth. And then you die with nothing to pass along.
This system only survives because at any given time enough voters are not experiencing this pilfering. Every politician who has a high school education must understand this. Yet they have allowed their wealthy benefactors to lead the debate on a humane system that prevents this economic and emotional carnage.
My experience owning a business, the ordeal we are going through with granny, the thousands that die every year from the inability to access healthcare whether one has insurance or not demands Medicare for All. The biggest lie is that we cannot afford it. And for those who believe there is security in private insurance or employer-based insurance, remember that Cigna other health insurance companies put the healthcare of over 200 thousand Houstonians at risk negotiating contracts.
As my wife and her brothers and sisters struggle to decide how they will move forward with an expense they did not expect, I see the pain and worry. We must all activate our empathy gene. Our system's promotion of a false individualism is in contempt with our empathetic self. This is by design for if we envision our system based on looking through the eyes of our fellow brothers and sisters we would pass policies that mitigate likely the evilest healthcare system in the world. We may have the best technology that fewer and fewer people will have the ability to access. In 2020, let's vote in politicians that are willing to make the transformational changes we need for most of us. And let's make sure those who have adopted policies and talking points that harm are summarily dismissed.
UPDATE: My mother-in-law died on January 8th, 2020. Her last few days saw suffering no human should endure. But she is at peace now.
Sadly, I watched a private healthcare system pilfering Medicare for all that it could get away with within the short time between her stroke and her death. Of course, it is no different than what the private health care industrial complex does to us all.
Most doctors, nurses, and participants are wonderful people trained to rip us all off to enrich the few owners and shareholders. I learned a lot more about the degeneracy of our system.