Capitalism is Bad for Your Health
DEMAND the IMPOSSIBLE!!
Medicare—government-run health insurance for the elderly—was fiercely opposed by conservatives and political reactionaries when it was proposed half a century ago: “We are against forcing all citizens . . . into a compulsory government program,” said one; it’s nothing less than “socialized medicine,” and, if implemented would mean that “one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.”
That was the demigod of today’s political right, Ronald Reagan, speaking before he’d entered electoral politics, and his comments echoed right-wing opposition to Social Security in the 1930s (a plan to “Sovietize America”), and the minimum wage and mandated overtime pay (“Communism, Bolshevism, fascism and Nazism”). Here we go again.
Good medicine at its heart requires trust and an assumption of honesty and fairness; the market requires nothing more nor less than profits for shareholders. The near-total corporate capitalist capture of health care incentivizes bad behavior: a primary-care doctor ordering a battery of tests of questionable medical value because fee-for-service makes it profitable, or an obstetrician performing an unneeded Caesarian section because that procedure brings in more money only makes sense if dollars—and dollars alone—are the standard of care. Unnecessary medical tests (and procedures) are to the health industry what alcohol is to the hospitality industry: the Midas touch, everything turning magically to gold.
The health care marketeers lie in public, devise make-believe disorders and promote them through public relations and clever advertising, and then deal meds at the open-air drug bazaar to treat invented afflictions. Erectile Capitalism is Bad for Your Health | Bill Ayers: