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by Gary Sudborough
Friday, Aug. 07, 2009 at 9:59 AM
Why a universal single payer insurance plan is the only logical answer to the health crisis in the United States. Health insurance companies are large parasites and should be abolished completely.
There are many living organisms on planet Earth which sustain themselves by leaching nutrients from other plants or animals. These are known as parasites. There happen to be human institutions, which operate in the same manner, but their nutrient is money and their prey are other human beings. Considering the trillions of dollars the federal government spends to rescue corporations, when their schemes to defraud the public go awry, I guess one could consider all corporations parasites to one degree or another. Some do produce useful products, but don't pay their workers the true value of their labor and many receive government subsidies, export promotions and other grants of government money. Consequently, it is not "welfare queens," mothers who need government money to feed, educate and cloth their children, who are the parasites on society, but the large corporations. I believe most people agree that children are an asset to society. Since we are all mortal, they are the future of humanity, and their well-being is paramount in importance.
There are corporations which produce nothing, but they do collect premiums from the public. These are the Earth's largest known parasites. They prey on people's fear of accidents, damage to property, loss of life or a severe illness and bankruptcy to obtain their nutrient of money. What do they do with all that money? Why they build skyscrapers, increase their CEOs salaries to hundreds of millions of dollars a year, have lavish parties and, in general, spend a lot of money elicited by people's fears of life's misfortunes on their own greed, instead of providing payments to those people in desperate need of help. How do they extricate themselves from the charge of being highway robbers? They pay claims just often enough that they retain their legitimacy as institutions of capitalism. They are not jailed for larceny because many Americans think greed is good, leads to competition, cheaper and better products and the American way of life.
Let's eliminate from the discussion a few of the lesser parasites like auto insurance companies, life insurance companies or those that insure things of great value like art, etc. and concentrate on the largest, most dangerous and evil parasites, and those are the health insurance giants. They not only prey on one's fear of illness and death to siphon vast quantities of nutriments from one's bank account in the form of money, but they will often not pay medical expenses at all and simply let one die of whatever ailment one possesses. The insurance companies have a very useful phrase for this abominable, but lucrative practice, and that is called preexisting illness. I have had a few preexisting illnesses in my lifetime and luckily recovered from them all, but my insurance company paid for nary a one. Preexisting illness is a novel phrase, and I have to acknowledge the ingenuity of the company executive who thought this one up. Practically every illness one can imagine, except accidents like a broken leg, are preexisting to one degree or another. Cancer and heart disease, two of the most prolific of human killers, take many years to develop. Even bacterial and viral infections have some incubation time. So a health insurance company can use this for practically anything, if they choose to do so.
Then, there are the drugs they won't pay for because, as they assert, there are cheaper alternatives. The problem is that those cheaper alternatives sometimes have very undesirable side effects or do not work as well as the expensive ones. There are what they call experimental procedures like bone marrow or organ transplants that they are very reluctant to pay for until the patient dies and all the premiums the patient or family have paid for all their lives suddenly become profit for the devouring beast. I am being very serious. A girl named Nataline Sarkisian at UCLA medical center in Los Angeles desperately needed a liver transplant to stay alive. CIGNA insurance company stalled and stalled, and there were demonstrations by nurses, family members and others in front of their office building. Finally, they decided to pay. Unfortunately, it was a few hours after she had died. Accidental? A coincidence? I don't think so. These corporations are psychopaths, as the film The Corporation so accurately illustrated.
In the United States one must have a job and work at least 3 months before one can obtain health insurance. It usually extends to 4 months after the paperwork is finished. If one suffers from a painful, gradually progressing disease, but one that does not preclude work, during these four months, well it is just tough luck in the USA. One can take a lot of pain medication and if that makes one sleepy, just wash those pills down with caffeine-loaded drinks in copious quantities. I know because this happened to me. If one is rich and can afford the outlandish monthly premiums for health insurance, then the work qualification process for health insurance can be avoided. Few Americans can afford this option.
Then, of course, if and when you are given the permission from the insurance company for treatment, there are all the co-payments for the MRI specialist, the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and so forth. This is another device from your health insurance company to alleviate some of the terrible pain they experience from having to pay your medical bills. The parasite hates giving nutrients back to the host. In Sweden, Norway, France, Germany and every other rational developed nation on Earth, all one has to do is present a medical card and one is given medical care free of charge- no people are uninsured and die or become disabled from a treatable disease, no one has to work in pain or have a disease worsen for several months until they qualify for insurance. The money for free health care in countries like Sweden comes from the taxes everyone pays for the public good. We are all familiar with these kind of taxes, but too often take them for granted. There are taxes for public schools, public highways, infrastructure maintenance and many other things which contribute to the well-being of the population The United States wastes trillions of these dollars, which could provide free health care and all sorts of other things to increase the happiness of the American people, on funding wars for the oil profits of Exxon-Mobil and Chevron-Texaco, while killing, maiming, poisoning and making refugees of millions of innocent people. Trillions of dollars more are spent to bail out the rich thieves on Wall Street and many more asinine projects, beneficial only to corporations.
Still the United States is rich enough to have free medical care for everyone, but the health insurance companies are enormously powerful. They fund a large part of the campaign contributions of politicians and these politicians are then obligated to these parasites. They have an army of lobbyists all over Washington D.C.,continually reminding politicians of their desire not to have free medical care or as they call it "socialized medicine." They spend millions on advertising against universal free health care. I remember the ridiculous "Harry and Louise" ads when Hillary Clinton was trying to alter health care a bit. Now, there are ads with terrible men called "government bureaucrats" stepping between the doctor and patient and shaking their heads. There are horror stories about lines in nations with free medical care, which people from those nations say is not true. There is the assertion that government cannot run anything efficiently. I get my Social Security check on time every month. The Post Office seems to get me my mail. I went to a good public school in rural Indiana, and they did a good job of educating me. These are blatant lies, drummed into the heads of all Americans. I was immunized against these lies long ago, so all they do is make me angry that Americans are deceived by them.
There is also this lie about the necessity of competition and big health insurance companies must compete among themselves to give you the lowest price. How about free? I like that price a whole lot. Health care is not a privilege for the rich. It is a right for all human beings in a civilized society that places value on life, health and elimination of suffering. Competition in a capitalist society is a myth; I have been watching the stock market since the 1980s and it has been merger mania. Company after company are buying up other companies and eliminating competition. Marx said over 150 years ago that this would happen and capital would become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Capitalists hate competition. John D. Rockefeller bought out all his competition. Often capitalists in a similar line of business get together and fix prices, so they all make a handsome profit. As far as quality of products is concerned, what about all the recalls of medicines and other items and the seemingly continuous contamination of beef with E. Coli bacteria.
I was born and grew up in a rural town in northern Indiana. There were people around there called Amish, who always wore black clothes and transported themselves by horse and buggy, rather than cars. They were backward in some ways, but enlightened in others. They really believed in brotherhood. They paid no premiums to parasites. If a misfortune happened to one of them, it was considered a misfortune to all. If an Amish man's barn burned down, they would pool their resources of money and manpower and rebuild his barn. The same method was used in all other cases of affliction by nature or Mankind. The United States has a similar pool of money called the federal budget, but brotherhood and easing suffering are very low priorities in spending that money. War, torture, environmental devastation by use of depleted uranium in bombs and shells and giving money to those who don't need it are high priorities. One may as well be speaking a lost language of a Native American tribe to say anything to Congress about concepts like love, brotherhood, saving the rain forests, saving other species of life and preventing disaster from happening to that stunningly beautiful planet we see in photographs from space. They are instead arguing about trivialities or making the rich even richer. I assume that most of these members of Congress are Christians. Aren't there words in the Bible about love, brotherhood and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you? These words must run off their brain cells like water off a duck's back and be replaced by connections between neurons concerning enriching themselves greatly by corporate connections and killing off any legislation that might help the sick obtain medical care, as they themselves do, free of charge, as members of Congress. Or like former governor Eliot Spitzer of New York, their thought processes revolve around obtaining a high priced call girl. To hell with the welfare of the American people. Corruption, selfishness and greed seem to rule the United States-this so-called beacon of democracy and freedom to the rest of the world.
The United States is not a civilized nation. It made a hell hole and sewage dump out of one of the oldest civilizations in the Middle East. The place between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers saw some of the earliest and greatest of civilizations- the place of Sumeria, Babylon and Assyria. Iraq was, only a few decades ago, one of the most prosperous, well-developed and well-educated nations in the Middle East. With a few pernicious lies, it was reduced to rubble with sewage flowing through the streets and depleted uranium blowing in the dust. The poor people of Afghanistan are in for a similar devastation. The United States' priorities are wars, coups, torture, world empire, environmental destruction for profit and making the rich even richer. Can we really expect free universal health care from a such a nation?
I hate to be pessimistic, but I will be amazed if we ever get universal single payer health insurance in my lifetime. The only way I will get it and I need it desperately, as I have spinal stenosis and protruding discs, will to become a citizen of a country that already has it and dual citizenship at my age is probably very difficult to obtain. There are people in even worse condition than I am. I saw on television a woman who had cancer and no insurance plead for her life to President Obama at one of these town hall meetings on health insurance. Obama hugged her and expressed sympathy, but does he really care or is he another hypocritical, lying politician? Also, with unemployment at record levels, how many more uninsured people are dying of illnesses that could be treated if they only had either insurance or tons of money? The Republicans are putting out propaganda that "socialized medicine" will kill old people. What a laugh! Insurance companies will kill old people and in large numbers. In the most powerful and richest nation on Earth, the world's largest parasites are winning and leaving a toll of hopelessness, death and misery in their wake.
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