Healthcare - Ticking Time Bomb
Washington, DC. Feb. 28th, 2005 ---- The many questions concerning healthcare were conveniently swept under the carpet during the elections, as they are too big to address, and too many large contributors are making a killing from the profits of pharmaceuticals and healthcare. The right wing Republicans know that a solution means admitting Hilary Clinton had a point with Universal Healthcare, and worse still the current system is destroying US competitiveness in the global marketplace.
The solution is further confused because the US already has socialized medicine for a segment of it's population, military and government. The Veterans Administration gives to ex-military personnel and their families what the taxpayers don't have, that same universal healthcare. But that pales with what lawmakers give to themselves, but the US Congress is corrupt anyway, so let's stick to the general public.
The Emergency Rooms are becoming clogged with uninsured cases, many who are immigrants. The immigration lie is becoming too obvious to hide anymore, and immigration to the USA is far higher than we are being led to believe. Millions are flocking over the southern borders of the USA, and the rich and powerful, who need these low wage immigrant laborers for their farms and assembly plants, haven't any intention of stemming the flow any time soon.
To look at the core problems look at the people in waiting rooms of hospitals and doctors surgeries. Firstly the elderly, a rapidly growing group who are sold endless tests and "procedures" for profit. Then look at the uninsured in the public health facilities, their numbers swelling every year. But the most interesting is the parade of "Drug Reps" pushing their overpriced pills, with free samples, free lunches, and invitations to induce doctors to prescribe their products. Armfuls of free pens, pads, toys and office gimmicks, stacked up in their company cars. Sometimes there are so many Drug Reps in the waiting room there is hardly room for patients.
Why does not the media cover this ticking time bomb? Quite simply for 2 out of 3 commercials is for a magic pill to relieve every symptom, real or imagined. Where would the TV Networks be without their many Erectile Dysfunction commercials?
But the pharmaceutical industry is on a Death Spiral, spending billions on lobbyists and lawyers to halt the tide, instead of finding ways to solve the problem. It will fail on it's present course.
The fundamental problem is far greater than the excessive profits made on pills. The whole distribution system is about to go under. The industry has three more years to find a solution, before one is imposed on them.
President Bush may cave in to the pharma lobby and try and ban little old ladies from going to Canada for their pharmaceuticals, but he can't enforce it! His cronies need the cheap Mexican labor so that issue will get worse. The growing outsourcing of jobs will throw millions more uninsured workers into the mix, and finally the resistance to traditional antibiotics is setting us up for a devastating epidemic.
In other words you can bet on a healthcare crisis within the next three years before the 2008 election. And guess who is ready to say "I told you so" as she launches her bid for the White House. The US Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industry, fighting change, will elect Hilary Clinton and she will effectively bring it under public control, with price control, and strict government regulation. And the sneezing, aching public will be 100% behind her as some epidemic or another strikes. Best bet is Bird Flu, although God knows what else is coming down the tracks.
Healthcare costs are a key factor in the growing collapse of manufacturing in the United States. The workers in China get no benefits, so the price of goods is 30-40% cheaper. The greedy capitalists have thrown away the seedcorn of US Manufacture for short term profits, siphoned off by the few. It is really stupid not to use a significant portion of profits to maintain a wealthy consumer class able to buy goods and services, but these Robber Barons grab wealth them move to their islands, or guarded compounds. That's the old American way.
Healthcare needs to be the priority in all economic development plans, and a well thought out public/private partnership could create an infrastructure that will ensure healthcare for all workers, and suitable profits for pharma companies. This needs to be created at local and State level as part of an economic recovery package. In fact link new factories, and recycled plants with some form of medical coverage. Everyone benefits.
The other alternative is to fight the flow in 2008.