The Pandemic Revealed and We Turned a Blind Eye

Blog#87- 10/25/21

Richard Davis

There seemed to finally be hope that the American health care non-system would finally be scrutinized in a new way. It became clear that as the pandemic unfolded our public health infrastructure was inadequate to meet even the most basic of needs. It also became clear that what we call health care in this country is really a reflection of the socioeconomic divide that is growing wider every day.

We learned that if you have money and live in a “good” neighborhood you have a better chance of staying healthy and avoiding the ravages of the pandemic. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has had their eyes open for the past few years.

The pandemic exposed many of the inadequacies of how health care is delivered and paid for in this country. Even the most polarized of politicians could see that. Yet the fat cats in Washington hunkered down and found a way to ignore what was right in front of them once again and simply went into emergency mode as they usually do. After all, our political system has always been reactive and is rarely proactive.

The hope for meaningful American health care reform can be realized but I just don’t see it happening in my lifetime. I see this as not a pessimistic viewpoint but as a realistic assessment. Health care in the United States is based on a model of profit and loss and as long as we treat health care as just another business we will never move into a humane and equitable realm.

Every other industrialized country in the world considers health care to be a human right. We still consider health care as a commodity to be used to reap profit. Until that model changes there will be little hope for the millions of Americans who suffer and die because they can’t afford basic health care.

About 31 million Americans were uninsured in 2020. That is 10.9 percent of the population. It is an international disgrace and surely this country could be considered for sanctions of some sort because of the way it does not provide for the basic human needs of so much of its population.

The creation of Medicare and Medicaid was the most progressive health care change that this country has ever seen. Those programs would have no chance of being passed today. Politicians are trying to privatize Medicare with the hope that it will eventually no longer be a government-run program. That is what Medicare Advantage is all about.

There have been efforts to mobilize millions of Americans to take to the streets for issues such as war and equality.

There have even been some marches devoted to health care issues. It seems that unless the American people rise up in a vocal way that there will be no change in the for-profit model of health care that dominates this country.

We are not an activist country. I look to France as a model where people take to the streets when they are angry.

That may be part of the reason why France has one of the best health care systems in the world.

Their health care is socialized. That is not an anti-American system, it is a pro-human system. The government can do a good job of running most of a health care system if politicians want it to happen. All French citizens have a health care card and when they go to a provider they simply hand over their card and it is put into a system that shows their entire medical history.

France also has a unified computer system for health care. In this country we have hundreds of companies creating health care software and most cannot communicate with each other because the profit motive is more important than the provision of simplified health care administration.

Health care is a human right in most of the world. In the United States health care is just another way to make money.

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