Among all Americans, only prisoners enjoy the protection of the U.S. Constitution when it comes to health care. And even for prisoners, the Eighth Amendment requires basic health care services only for serious medical needs. As the North Carolina Supreme Court observed in 1926, “[I]t is but just that the public be required to care for the prisoner, who cannot by reason of the deprivation of his liberty, care for himself.”
The prison system in California spends an average of more than $40,000 a year on a population of about 170,000. Yet, the federal court has found the prison health care system unconstitutional, causing one unnecessary death per week, on average. Thus, we can see that the expenditure of vast sums of money will not, alone, result in a sound system for the delivery of health services.
But what of those who have no access to such services? Some 40 million Americans have no health insurance at all. Clearly, something is drastically wrong. See more about business lawyers.
Why is it always the poor and middle-class people who embrace propaganda that can inure only to the benefit of the corporations and the wealthy? The state of our health care is a disgrace, comparing 7th or 8th among systems in around the world. Here, even those lucky enough to have health insurance at work can be bankrupted by catastrophic injury or illness.
HMO’s, PCP’s, and other “plans” offered by the insurance companies already limit our choices of doctors and treatments. Frequently, reimbursement or coverage is unreasonably and unjustifiably delayed. And increasingly, these highly profitable insurance corporations simply refuse to pay legitimate claims because of noncompliance with mindless formalities. (By now, everyone has heard of cases where coverage was denied when a person was rushed to an emergency room but failed to notify the insurer first.) And increasingly, these corporate behemoths rescind coverage altogether when it is needed most, pointing to some hyper-technical and immaterial omission, an unintentional misstatement on a health care application, or any other plausible excuse at hand. Rather than suing the company, many people are intimidated, throw their hands into the air, and allow the insurance company to bully them to the detriment of their health and financial welfare. When people do seek legal protection, it often comes too late.
Insurance policies are incredibly difficult to understand, they employ terms unique to the industry, and few who have policies know what will or will not be covered. The insurance companies keep lawyers on retainer and it’s easy for their representatives to confuse, confound, and intimidate consumers. For the companies, it’s all about a dollars and cents analysis – how much do we gain by denying or delaying coverage, how much might litigation cost, and what are the chances that a lawsuit will be filed?
As a result, the provision of actual health services declines while profits rise. So who has an interest in perpetuating such a deeply flawed system? And who is financing frightening misinformation about universal coverage in a single-payer system?
We already provide universal coverage for people who seek care in emergency rooms. That haphazard expenditure of public funds is terribly wasteful because many emergent medical needs could have been addressed through preventive care, the most effective use of health care dollars. And 70% of all health care expenditures are connected to treatment in the last three months of life with little regard for the quality of life during that period. Meanwhile, the health care needs of children and young people are neglected. Is that really the best way to allocate limited resources? Even we aging “Baby-Boomers” would have to concede that such practices defy reason.
This nonsense about “socialized medicine” and government imposed euthanasia are expressions of fear of the unknown (and untried) not very different from the reaction of a frightened ostrich. But sticking our heads in the sand won’t make this problem go away, and neither will these tired scare tactics.
The facts are that government does a pretty good job of administering health care for veterans, the elderly, and the poor. Those who have the benefit of that care express a higher degree of satisfaction than those who have to rely on for-profit insurance companies. And, contrary to conventional wisdom, government does a better job of administering a health care system than corporate insurance companies that spend nearly 20% of our health care dollars on administration.
Where in the world did we get the idea that health care should be a profit-driven industry? How in the world are there so many less affluent countries providing health care for all citizens while spending far less than we spend? And why in the world should we allow financial exploitation of the ill and infirm to continue? It’s long past time to plan health care expenditures as we do our home budgets – rationally and in accordance with principled priorities. We’re long overdue in developing a health care system that is founded on our shared sensibility that no one in need of medical care should be denied because of social status. We should (if necessary, swallow hard and) recognize that basic decency requires a health care delivery system that covers everyone, not just those who can pay.
Should you be deprived of Health Care or your HMO, PPO, or other insurance company unlawfully denied you needed medical care, contact our law firm to deal with things.
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