For the last year or so, we’ve been dealing with a family health care crisis. Most of you know that both my in-laws were hospitalized for months last summer, only to have my mother-in-law pass away last October.
Since that time, my father-in-law moved in with us because he could not live on his own any longer. He is a grieving, gentle man with health issues of his own — and we had a ring-side seat to the way that the health system in this country treats the people in it when they are most vulnerable.
It’s not pretty.
The dirty little secret about "health care" is that the people who actually do the work with patients care about them a lot. But the system itself is neither about health nor care. It is about profit-making at any cost, pure and simple.
And profit is ruthlessly pursued, despite the toll that it takes on the very people who are paying for the privilege to be treated like beans counted in an abstract money-making enterprise.
We would find this gentle, grieving man up in the middle of the night worried about bill collectors calling to pick money out of his pocket for care that his wife of more than 50 years never even received because she passed away before getting it. We helped him, time and time again, to walk through the jarring morass of endless mail from these people with its myriad attempts to get out of paying for covered services as basic as surgical care and meals fed intravenously while under sedation.
Over and over and over again.
Any plan that does not put the public’s interest front and center, that does not make both "health" and "care" the standards, is a non-starter with me. We are human beings and, especially at the stage that my father-in-law has reached, we ought to be treated with dignity, respect and decency instead of a bilking, badgering bill collecting frenzy.
In a system which is not about the money, but is about the care, well-being and welfare of the patients, that would make sense. But this is all about dividing up the pieces of the profit pie.
Millions of Americans with health insurance go through this every year. Those without health insurance are in even worse shape. We have a system of profit centers to benefit the people who rake in the profit. And it’s not healthy for anyone except those lining their own pockets.
Recently, some testimony occurred in Congress which got little to no attention by the media. Watch it above, see the human face of why health care reform is needed.
And then tell me you don’t have time to whip the Public Plan.