Tough Pills to Swallow | CitizenSpeak | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Tough Pills to Swallow

Americans need a health-care system based on health and wellness--not profits for insurance companies.



Misconceptions about health-care reform abounds these days as does misinformation from the corporate-funded opposition, in the form of “grass root” voter organizations. It's causing confusion and contempt among the voters. Health profiteers are pushing ideas such as the loss of options, the rationing of care and a loss of quality care. These organizations are actively lying to the American public without remorse. The truth is that our economy cannot support the continued increase in health-care costs, and we as a people cannot continue to sit idly by while Americans lose coverage because they cannot afford it or are simply denied it.

Many have been denied health care because their insurance companies would stand to lose money if they continued to insure them. Others aren’t as lucky and are denied health care after being told their condition isn’t insurable because it is pre-existing. Most agree this should be changed but few understand that simply regulating a company doesn’t change the fact the company must make a profit. Insurance companies’ priorities line up in this order: their boards, their investors, their employees and finally their patients. Mandating that an insurance company cover their policyholders without exception will result in more Americans being unable to afford health care.

In effect, this is the rationing of health care that many Americans fear will come with health-care reform. If Americans understood that insurance companies look out for their interests first, they would come to see that the insurance industry profits off the suffering of those without care. Insurance companies decide what an individual’s level of care should be in addition to how long that patient will receive care. Thus, the very things Americans say they worry about with the proposed provisions of health-care reform are already happening.

If it weren’t for the creation of Medicare in 1965, our elderly would be culled from society, because any sane company would see insuring that age group would be a loss to its bottom line. The government stepped in and protected seniors so they could continue to have a valued impact on society.

Even with this act, our government is still criticized as being incapable of compassion and of insuring its citizens. But corporations have certainly proven that they are incapable of compassion and even when they try, they fail at providing timely and excellent care.

Recently, we heard reports of people being left to die in hospital ER waiting rooms. When this happens in America, we are told that we still have it better than in countries with socialized medicine—without being given facts to support that idea. Of course, why would lobbyists—who are spending nearly $1 million dollars per day for their companies—want to give the American public the truth?

The current wait time in an emergency room in America is more than an hour while the triage policies in Canada, where socialized medicine is practiced, insure patients are seen within six minutes and an average of 20. Numbers are similar for Britain and France. The quality of care there is also above ours and is so because of competition between providers.

Another false fact is that without a capitalist market, the quality in health care suffers. Our health-care quality is rated below 34 other countries. Even with our competition, we aren’t any better off. In fact, because capitalism is the catalyst for competition here, we have millions of Americans who lack any care, regardless of quality.

What is funny about comparing the United States’ system with the single-payer systems in other countries is that a market for competition still exists. The difference, though, is that their market’s end goal isn’t profit for shareholders; it is health and wellness for its patients. This data can be easily obtained on the Internet but most people have been so convinced by the disinformation campaign of the lobbyists that they are unwilling to research a better answer.

How can we Americans come up with a better answer without being provided accurate and real information from both sides?

Some politicians and fellow Americans would have you believe that ideas from other nations aren’t necessarily the best policies for Americans. Those same individuals would be, respectfully, wrong. Our nation was founded by individuals with the humility to recognize strengths in others and to imitate them. We Americans need to focus on winning the health-care battle. For us to think that the health-care system we currently have is working is to ignore the fact that it doesn’t work for nearly a third of us.

Charles Finley is a born-and-raised Wasatch Front local. %uFFFDHe attended Weber State University and is currently a Web developer and IT professional with aspirations in the literary field. %uFFFDWhen not in front of a computer monitor, he enjoys all the outdoor splendor the great state of Utah has to offer.