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Profit Parasite Attacks Medical System

Sat, Mar 3, 2007

Articles, Health and Medicine

Profit Parasite Attacks Medical System

by Susan Rosenthal

It took three weeks, but I finally convinced a woman to take her severely mentally-ill daughter to the hospital. After waiting for hours in the emergency room, they were turned away because there weren’t enough beds. When she asked me, “How can they do that?” I replied that medicine is run as a business, not a service, so that the number of beds is based on economics not need. This made no sense to her. It makes no sense to me either.

I recall the day I first learned the cost of conducting medicine as a business. A middle-aged man asked me to cancel his hernia repair because he was convinced he would die on the operating table. I conveyed his request to the surgeon who stormed into the patient’s room and berated him for wasting his time. The patient submitted, the surgery proceeded, and the patient died. The surgeon was paid just the same.

We don’t have a health-care system. A health-care system would put health first. We have a profit-care system that puts money first. The result is healthy profits and sick people.

The profit parasite consumes social resources. Insurance companies take your money and promise to provide medical care when needed. To profit from this exchange, they must take more than they give. So they charge premiums, co-payments and deductibles; they enrol only the healthiest individuals; they limit pay-outs; and they abandon programs that provide insufficient profit. In a nation that spends more on medical services than any other, the profit parasite denies medical care to millions.

The profit parasite corrupts medicine. GlaxoSmithKline knowingly marketed anti-depressants that increased the risk of suicide in children. Pfizer knowingly produced a pain-killer that more than tripled the risk of heart attacks, strokes and death. The Guidant Corporation admitted that it covered up thousands of serious health problems and 12 deaths caused by defects in its medical device. Such monstrous behavior is common because the profits outweigh the penalties.

The profit parasite kills patients. To boost profits, hospital staff are reduced to the minimum and worked to the limit. As a result, medication errors kill thousand of Americans every year. Drug errors are so common that every hospital patient can expect to suffer one for each day in hospital. Lack of sanitation and no time to wash between patients cause hospital infections that kill100,000 Americans every year, more than five times as many as die from HIV/AIDS.

To protect the profit parasite, medical insurance companies contribute more money to federal politicians than banks, military contractors, and oil and gas companies. The number-one lobby group is also the most profitable business in America – the pharmaceutical industry.

In return, the State feeds the profit parasite. The Food and Drug Administration instructs drug companies to design and conduct the studies that will determine if their products are approved. These same companies also pay the salaries of the FDA employees who will make the approval decisions.

With 45 million Americans lacking medical insurance and millions more under-insured, employers and politicians clamor for “affordable” health care. However, almost 60 percent of the U.S. workforce makes less than $15 an hour, so affordable health care would have to be free. That shouldn’t be a problem. The billions that are currently extracted in medical profits would pay for universal health care.

In any sane society, there would be no profit in medicine. There would be no profit in any human activity. We would all contribute our skills and experience, and we would all receive what we need. That’s socialism. It’s a simple solution that’s long overdue.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Carol Says:

    I am an American and I had the best medical insurance money could buy, but I did not receive good medical care.

    I burst my appendix and miraculously survived with a 2-week supply of CIPRO, hundreds of antibiotics over the Internet and ultimately Chinese herbs to kill a parasitical disease. In short, I was exploited and body compartmentalized for profit.

    While socializing medicine on some level is an option, it should be added also that if it is to work in the U.S. (where profit is the mentality of all) that government should re-implement “caps” of the number of doctors allowed to graduate with a medical degree (as was done in the ’50s) so that those with medical insurance are not exploited for infectious disease. A qualified internist should also be a “wrist” specialist, not the other way around.

    It’s disgusting how infectious disease is exploited. For example, I was told I had MS, told I needed heart surgery, told I had fibromyalgia, etc. But when the Chinese treated me, I had no need for any of our medical system treatments.

    It’s all bullshit to me. Greed is killing millions – more than Hitler.

  2. Dan Says:

    The U.S. Health Care: Anarchy And Apathy

    What follows are believed to be facts that are believed to exist regarding the present U.S. Health Care System. This may be why about 80 percent of U.S. citizens understandably want our health care system overhauled desperately due to the inadequate health care they receive and access:

    The U.S. is ranked rather low in regards to life expectancy and infant mortality, compared with the Western world.

    However, the U.S. is ranked number one in the world for spending the most for health care- as well as being number one for those with chronic diseases. About 125 million people have such diseases. This is about 70 percent of the Medicare budget that is spent treating these terrible illnesses.

    Health Care costs are now well over 2 trillion dollars of our gross domestic product. This is three times the amount nearly 20 years ago- and 8 times the amount it was about 30 years ago. Most is spent with medical institutions, as far as health expenditures are concerned. Some believe that perhaps one third of these costs are for care given to patients by health care providers that is not necessary.

    About another third of that amount is nothing more than administrative toxic waste that does not involve the restoration of the health of others. This illustrates how absurd the U.S. Health Care System is presently. Nearly 7000 dollars is spent on every citizen for health care every year, and that, too, is more than anyone else in the world.

    We have around 50 million citizens without any health insurance, which may cause about 20 thousand deaths per year. This includes millions of children without health care, which is added to the planned or implemented cuts in the government SCHIP program for children, which alone covers about 7 million kids.

    Our children.

    Nearly half of the states in the U.S. are planning on or have made cuts to Medicaid, which covers about 60 million people, and those on Medicaid are in need of this coverage is largely due to unemployment. With these Medicaid cuts, over a million people will lose their health care coverage and benefits to a damaging degree.

    About 70 percent of citizens have some form of health insurance, and the premiums for their insurance have increased nearly 90 percent in the past 8 years. About 45 percent of health care is provided by our government- which is predicted to experience a severe financial crisis in the near future with some government health care programs, it has been reported.

    Half of all patients do not receive proper treatment to restore their health, it has been stated. Medical errors desperately need to be reduced as well, it has been reported, which should be addressed as well.

    Most doctors want a single payer health care system, which would save about 400 billion dollars a year- about 20 percent less than what we are paying now. The American College of Physicians, second in size only to the American Medical Association, supports a single payer health care system.

    The AMA, historically opposed to a single payer health care system, has close to half of its members in favor of this system. Less than 20 percent of all practicing physicians in the United States are members of the AMA, according to others. The membership of the AMA has progressively declined over the years for a variety of authentic reasons.

    Our health care we offer citizens is the present system is sort of a hybrid of a national and private health care system that has obviously mutated to a degree that is incapable of being fully functional due to perhaps copious amounts and levels of individual and legal entities.

    Health Care must be the priority immediately by the new administration and congress. Challenges include the 700 billion dollars that have been pledged with the financial bailout that will occur, since the proposed health care plan of the next administration is projected to cost over a trillion dollars within the first year or so of the proposed plan to recalibrate health care for all of us in the U.S.

    Likely, hundreds of billions of dollars that are speculated to be saved with a reform of the country’s health care system. Health policy analysts should not be greatly concerned on the health care corporate shareholders who may be affected by this reform of our health care system that is desperately needed.

    It is estimated that the U.S. needs presently tens of thousands more primary care physicians to fully satisfy the necessities of those members of the public health. This specialty makes possibly less than 100 thousand dollars annually in income, compared with other physician specialties, yet they are and have been the backbone of the U.S. health care system.

    The American College of Physicians believes that a patient centered national health care workforce policy is needed to address these issues that would ideally restructure the payment policies that exist presently with primary care physicians.

    Further vexing is that it is quite apparent that we have some greedy health care corporations that take advantage of our health care system. Over a billion dollars was recovered for Medicare and Medicaid fraud last year through settlements paid to the department of Justice because some organizations who deliberately ripped off taxpayers.

    These are the taxpayers in the U.S. who have a fragmented health care system with substantial components and different levels of government- composed of several legal entities and individuals, which has resulted in medical anarchy, so it seems.

    Thanks to various corporations infecting our Health Care System in the United States, the following variables sum up this system as it exists today. Perhaps the United States National Health Insurance Act (H.R. 676) is the best solution to meet our health care needs as citizens, it appears.

    We would finally have, as with most other countries, a Universal Health Care system that will allow free choice of doctors and hospitals, potentially, and health care for all completely. It should and likely will be funded by a combination of payroll taxes and general tax revenue which is realistically possible. Because the following seems to be in need of repair regarding the U.S. Health Care System:

    Access- citizens do not have the right or ability to make use of this system as we should.

    Efficiency- this system strives on creating much waste and expense as it possibly can.

    Quality- the standard of excellence we deserve as citizens with our health care is missing in action.

    Sustainability- We as citizens cannot continue to keep our health care system in as it is designed at this time- as it exists today.

    Dan Abshear

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