Let me start out at the beginning. About one hundred years ago or so, doctors came to your house, gave you some pills that probably did not work, told you to rest regardless of what was wrong with you and you gave them a chicken or a slab of ham and everybody was happy. Of course, life expectancy was far less and crippling diseases ravaged the population, but it was affordable. Slowly, modern medicine began to evolve and actually was able to cure some diseases like polio, bacterial diseases and sometimes a minor gunshot wound. Not many doctors went into medicine because they planned on making a lot of money, but rather to help their fellow man. Medical technology, like most technologies of the time, moved along slowly at first and then began to gain steam as invention and understanding of the human body began to accelerate.
Around 1850 the first accident insurance was introduced, and not until 1920 was the first hospital and medical insurance plan offered. It was offered by hospitals as a way of setting aside money in case of unforeseen medical expenses. Enter capitalism! Some visionary capitalist saw the potential to make a lot of money. I doubt that he envisioned the enormous profit that today’s insurance companies and medical companies make, but he did see dollar signs floating in the air. I imagine that this entrepreneur went to a hospital and offered to take the burden of monitoring insurance costs and dispersal so the hospital could concentrate on what they were supposed to be doing, healing people. This sounded like an excellent idea and hospitals around the land quickly joined the movement. As you can imagine, many of these insurance companies began to consolidate, becoming more powerful, thus increasing their control and profits.
Capitalists of the time saw the writing on the wall and began positioning themselves for the largest ripoff in human history! If they can control access to people’s health care and control the flow of these new technologies, they can make more money than anyone had ever dreamed of before. Think of it this way, if someone created a pill that allowed humans to live for another 100 years, how much would that pill cost? Whoever controlled this new pill would make more money than anyone in human history! Of course, money is needed, and lots of it, to make use of the medical system, which in a screwed up kind of way, is offering an extended life span if one can afford it.
So here we are today, a doctor’s visit for the common cold or flu is a major expense. Injuries that could be treated and allow a person to live a more productive life are ignored due to prohibitive cost. Pharmaceutical companies, medical instrument companies, insurance companies and hospitals CEO’s are laughing as they drink champagne on their yachts in the Caribbean while Americans suffer from their greed. Politicians rake in enormous contributions from these large corporate beasts to ensure their reelection and convince the people that they are going to change things.
The old saying that you can’t let the fox guard the hen house is where we are right now. Large corporations are controlling the vote of our elected leaders (thank you Supreme Court with your Citizens United ruling) thus ensuring the continued subterfuge of the American citizen! This is not a blue or red issue, this is a grab for power equal to any in history. You and I are the pawns on this board and the large hand that moves us around at will is corporate America making sure they are rolling in the money and power.
If you have read this far and are wondering what you can do to change this picture, the answer is easy, Do not vote for any politician who takes money from corporations! If you want to be a one issue voter, make this your issue! I can not say I am optimistic that we will make this change but I must hold on to the hope that we do, so that our children and their children will have a world to live in free of corporate greed and corruption.
Once a Trekkie always a Trekkie.