Profit-Driven Health Care

I have written before and will probably write again about the practice in the U.S. of making health care a profit-making business instead of a human right. That makes us the only major country in the world not to offer universal health care to its citizens. All the countries of Europe as well as all those that make up the U.K., including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, provide health care to their people. In fact, 116 nations world-wide do so. But we do not.

Why do we persist in making medicine a profit-driven proposition? I believe we Americans are inclined to see life in general in terms of profit and loss. We honor rugged individualism rather than cooperation. We condemn socialism, especially socialized medicine.

Defenders of for-profit medicine point out that most Americans have health insurance which covers the cost of medical care. But health insurance is a money-making business and therefore more expensive than government-provided health care. And, according to one source, about 44 million Americans have no health insurance. Another 38 million have inadequate health insurance that doesn’t cover the cost of their medical care.

Probably related is that life expectancy for Americans is lower than that in other modern democracies. The U.S. ranks 26th of 35 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries for life expectancy, with an average life expectancy of 79 years. Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, and Switzerland, for example, all have life expectancies over 84.

When will we Americans wake up and realize that universal health care provided by the government is vastly preferable to for-profit medicine? It is time for the U.S. to join the modern democracies of the world and start taking care of our citizens.

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