WRITTEN BY CHRISTOPHER RYAN
So of the 32 million people, who are those who profit from the status quo and who don’t?
Pharmaceutical companies are just one example of how being a part of a social service – that has to make a bottom line, only hurts the system.
Wendell Potter, author of Nation on the Take, agrees. “They say they need to have a system like this country, in which they can charge pretty much whatever they want for medications rather than having any government regulation or rate setting. But there’s a consequence. We in this country spend far, far more than any other country in the world.”
So, it may not seem as clear and simple as one may think, but the point is: being a for-profit company does not benefit the common good.
How does not having health insurance affect the uninsured? The better question is how does it affect everyone? According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, “the lack of available health insurance for some people affects the provision of health services to everyone, not just those who are uninsured.”
“It’s mistaken and dangerous to assume that this affects only those who are uninsured,” Dr. Arthur Kellerman, a chairman of the Institute of Medicine Committee, said in the report. “Since the delivery of care, both uninsured and insured is interrelated, a lack of health insurance has serious, community-wide effects.”
He added, “The financial strain of treating the uninsured severely restricts local governments and health care providers, with the result that delivery of health care, access to emergency rooms, to specialists and to hospital-based services are reduced for everyone—insured or not.”
Do not forget about the health care providers and specialists. How does this affect them? Many physicians are becoming fed up with not being reimbursed for their services when a patient cannot pay their bills, which is mainly due to lack of insurance coverage on the patient’s end.
“I’ve seen a few doctors that I work with, as well as I’ve read [many] articles about this being a movement in the country, for physicians to go into full private practice,”Kate McGill-Armento, a nurse practitioner in Philadelphia, said. “They do not accept insurance and if you want to be their patient, you pay an annual fee – a high annual fee.”
Having a doctor that is in this private practice allows you to have access to them almost 24/7, they may even do house calls. But who can afford that? Only wealthier individuals have the funds for such a service.
Armento added, “A lot of good physicians, who are completely disillusioned with the [current] insurance system, have narrowed their patient population down to those who can afford to pay them out of pocket.”
This is how our heath care system helps contribute to the perpetual cycle of wealth inequality in America.