once a long time ago an insurance company drone actually told me that i would be more cost effective if i were dead.
effective health care is a relatively new invention in the history of humankind. health insurance as we know it only dates back to 1929 in the US.
in the US, we have excellent health care and access to health care for those who can afford it, and apparently things that make you not die or not be crippled with pain are popular commodities people are willing to pay a lot of money for, so there's money to be made there.
as medical treatment got more complex, there started to be a greater divide between what adequate care was going to cost you and what you were likely to be able to afford. and once upon a time there was a shiny hospital that wanted to guarantee a certain amount of business and some teachers who wanted to be able to pay a fee up front in return for health care if they needed it and blue cross was born.
it was a great idea. people got health care.
but later as the business grew, it started to be more about making money than making money while benefitting both health care professionals and health care consumers. it got to be profitable to provide expensive services to people who could afford it, and we were back to square one.
only now MORE money was at stake.
do you remember HMOs? how they were going to be the progressive wave of the future?
yeah. someone figured out that it was more cost-effective to keep people healthy than to wait to treat them for acute conditions, but what happened is that the businesses behind them realized pretty quick that it was REALLY cost effective to ration adequate health care to people who could afford it, and the upshot is that fewer people end up with access to health care they need.
only now there's even MORE money at stake.
gigantic health insurance companies are now squeezing both ends of the tube: they wring every last penny out of hospitals and health care workers AND they ration adequate health care to people who can afford it, which means a very few people are getting very rich off of the work of others and the desperation and sickness of others.
the affordable care act was supposed to help with that, but the gubmint is too much in the pocket of the insurance industry and the healthcare corporations and the pharmaceutical companies who cannot BEAR to part with any fraction of their enormous profits.
i have said this before and i will say it many, many times: there is a substantial difference between profit and profit maximized on the backs of everyone else.
if you can make a truckload of money providing goods or services that people want or need without impoverishing your consumers, workers, or the community and resources where you're doing business, bless you and carry on.
if your business model is predicated on extracting maximum gain at the expense of everyone else, you need a sharpish poke with the business end of a flamethrower or something.
in the long term, affordable health care -that is, health care that is affordable for the people who need it- is more cost effective than making people go without health care. acute care is expensive, lost wages are expensive, the damage to the community and the economy is expensive.
and by "economy", i mean the economic systems that are made up of all people and resources and not just the paper profits of the speculatory rich.
costs to the economy are not just measured on the stock exchanges. costs are measured in employee absenteeism, in spread of disease, in urban decay, collapse of civility, rise of crime, cutting of public services.
adequate affordable health care for all lowers costs for everybody.
or nearly everybody. a few people wouldn't make quite as much money, but they'd still make money. they'd get used to it.