(The following was originally published in Liberation, the official newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.)
The U.S. health care system in free fall
Attacked from all sides by the right wing (for all the wrong reasons), dominated by profit-hungry private insurance companies, and big pharmaceutical giants, and poorly managed and developed by the Obama administration, the Affordable Care Act is coming up way short as a solution to the collapsing health care system in the United States. In fact, it’s in shambles.
The ACA was designed to help reorganize a health care system in crisis but has failed. Why? Capitalist politicians are there to defend profits. Health care reform cannot take place with big insurance and pharmaceuticals running the show.
President Obama and all the liberal establishment made sure that the fundamental law of capitalism was thoroughly defended, at the expense of universal health care.
Public confusion is rampant. Access to care is still down. In the state of New Mexico, one of the poorest and most underserved communities in the United States, for example, a recent poll conducted by Research & Polling, Inc. found that 62 percent of New Mexicans have no idea what an insurance exchange is (the policies claiming to be there for uninsured families). In addition, only 41 percent have heard of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange.
These abysmal results were revealed after BVK, a Milwaukee-headquartered advertising and marketing firm, was awarded a whopping $8.4 contract to promote the health exchanges, and to guide uninsured workers to help them obtain coverage.
In the poll, less than 20 percent recalled seeing any of the TV ads for health care exchanges.
As if rewarding the same ad agency’s failure, a new contract of $6 million was award in July to BVK.
Similar chaotic outcomes are occurring everywhere across the country. Faulty data systems, lack of funds, penalties for workers who have tried to gain access, denial of care to hundreds of thousands of people trying to sign up, phony policies being sold to innocent workers, fraud, discrimination, and so on.
Across the U.S., nurse case managers and discharge planners in hospitals are struggling against a system that is falling apart from within, while more and more insurance providers are reaping massive profits by denying crucial services to patients in need of care.
Basic medicines routinely cost thousands of dollars for just a few days’ duration. Co-payments, both in private insurance plans AND Medicare are increasing constantly. Millions in profits are channeled at the same time directly into the pockets of the capitalist health care giants.
Millions of working families, undocumented and documented, are still without any care at all, and are left to suffer and die without even the most basic care.
Homeless people, people with mental illness and chronic diseases are dying on the streets without care, dumped into the street in the middle of the night by big for-profit hospitals who only think of their bottom dollar line.
Instead of a smooth pathway to diagnostics and treatments, each procedure, each home health visit, each urgently needed medication, even the smallest interventions, requires pre-authorization from the insurance companies, who seek, and often reward their staff for finding, ways to deny treatment and care.
In a world of justice and simple human values based on the notion that health care is a fundamental right that must be provided to every person, all the parasites dominating health care today, including those insurance policies that now exist under the ACA, would be abolished and a centrally planned, single payer system would be put in place.
Denial of care to anyone is a crime! Hold the profiteers accountable!
The solution, very simply, is clear: It has been shown, time and again, that the vast majority of working people support and desperately need free and quality health care on demand. Enough already! It’s time for a million-fold mobilization of the people to demand just that.
The promises of the Obama administration, which has been unwilling to wage a fight against profiteers in health care, afraid and unwilling to mobilize the people for what is right, which is loyal to the capitalists thieves, have deepened the crisis in the current capitalist, profit-driven system.
A mobilization of the people, in the millions, for this just cause, with the logical demand for a socialist society where people’s needs come first, is where we need to go from this point on. Let’s honor our loved loves and fellow workers; let’s organize!