As if this isn’t hard enough

As if this isn’t hard enough:



On May 13 an MRI found 20 tumors in my husbands brain. On May 15 he could barely breathe and was in a lot of pain. A CT scan that day revealed he had a softball-sized tumor in his lung, tumors in his other lung, his liver and possibly his bones. On our way home from the imaging…

I know someone whose husband is a Dr.  He doesn’t use social media and his address and phone number are both unlisted.  He is very difficult to look up online.  It’s almost like he lives in hiding.  He works from home.  When Stuttgart and I were introduced to him, he was very vague about what he did for a living.  I didn’t care for him at all. Later on I found out that he works for a large insurance company.  He is the Dr. the insurance company hires to find loop holes in medical cases to deny insurance claims for people who need costly treatments like cancer or organ transplant.  The reason he lives in hiding is because he is afraid that someone might look him up and come after him after their child dies from cancer because of his work for the insurance company.

What a scum bag.  He went to medical school so he could make money by pulling legit health care from people that need it most.

It isn’t necessary for there to be great evil at work at the level of individual humans for the system to be evil — though doubtless there are individual humans (CEOs, doctors; whomever) who are evil. There are evil people in every sphere of human activity.

But I don’t expect the proportion of them is greater in the healthcare field (including the healthcare insurance field) than in any other field. The proportion might even be lower than in the population generally. But it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter because in this case the ordinary operation of capitalism is sufficient to cause great evil, even when the individuals in the system are each just doing their jobs. With companies free to pursue their own economic advantage (indeed, with publicly traded companies legally required to pursue that advantage, by virtue of their officers’ fiduciary responsibility to shareholders), the current U.S. healthcare system creates conflicts between profit-pursuing insurance companies and the very ill. In that conflict, one side has all the advantages, the other all the disadvantages. One side has huge professional staffs highly incentivized to find ways to deny coverage for expensive treatments. The other side has isolated humans struggling to deal with horrific life events.

The software engineer in me sees this as a solved problem. This experiment has been run, over and over, and the results are clear. There’s no need to inflict needless suffering on people who already are suffering horribly. The answer is for the U.S. to begin immediately to plan and execute a transition to a single-payer system that provides universal coverage. It doesn’t even really matter which model we choose to move to. It could be something akin to the Canadian model. Or the British model. Or the French model. Or the German model. Or the Japanese model. Or a combination of all of them. Whatever model we choose will be better than what we have now. It will produce better outcomes at lower cost.

There’s no excuse for this not to happen now.

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