The health care debate gets a satirical kick with a video proclaiming how we need to “protect” insurance company profits from the evils of health care reform. No matter where you stand politically, it is okay to watch the video. It’s kinda funny:
At the nucleus of the biology of technology philosophy is that technology provides many solutions to the suffering associated with the human condition. But technology innovations and medical advances are not measured in how much it can help mankind, but rather how much it cost. And there in lies the problem about health care in the US. The bottom line is “The Bottom Line” of corporate profits and not healthy American citizens.
Here are a few facts to emphasis we spend money that reflects the profit orientation of our value system:
- About 5000 people die every day from Tuberculosis (TB). This calculates to about 1.8 million TB deaths a year.
- Death from TB is an awful way to go. That’s why it used to be called consumption, because the TB would consume the infected with a bloody cough, fever, pallor, and long relentless wasting.
- The total amount of money spent in the world on development of new TB drugs is about 120 million dollars.
- The pharmaceutical and health products industry has spent just over 120 million in 2004 in federal lobbying and campaign donations at the federal and state levels. (They spent more to lobby than to advance TB treatment.)
- Billions have been spent by the Erectile Dysfunction (ED) industry, and hardly anyone has die from ED.
- In 2004 Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company, made a profit of $11.3 billion with sales topping $51 billion.
- More than a third of pharmaceutical companies’ resources go into promotion and marketing, not improving their drugs.
The US health care sector is a $2.3 trillion economy and needs people in bad health to generate the astronomically profits it has become accustom. In the USA we spend about twice as much per person on health care as most European countries. However, European countries beat the USA on most health statistics, including higher longevity, lower cancer rates, fewer heart diseases, etc
The obvious observation is that our health care market dynamic does not produce more healthy Americans, but rather more profitable corporation in the health sector (insurance, pharmaceuticals, and other heath companies). So while we are arguing politics, people all over the USA are suffering and dying. And insurance companies are getting richer.
I do not have the silver bullet solution, but the following article on the German Health Care system provides some interesting insights.
Health Reform Without a Public Plan: The German Model
Europe and Canada base health care policy on the principle of social solidarity. It means that health care should be financed by individuals on the basis of their ability to pay, but should be available to all who need it on roughly equal terms. The regulations imposed on health care in these countries are rooted in this overarching principle.
If we could agree on the idea of social solidarity it would be a step in the right direction, unless you’re an insurance executive.