Your doctor is out and unable to see you now. Not out for lunch or out on vacation — but out of medical practice.
America’s perverse health care system, which sublimates care to the profiteering demands of Wall Street speculators who essentially own today’s system, has been driving out hordes of nurses, pharmacists, and now doctors too.
These practitioners take their Hippocratic Oath seriously: “First, do no harm.” Yet again and again, they see corporate managers of hospital chains, physician clinics, and other practices doing severe harm. Corporations routinely slash staffing levels, eliminate services, reject low-income patients, and raise prices — all to prop up the profits of rich, absentee investors.
Dr. Eric Reinhart, a prominent physician, recently wrote in the New York Times that in 2021 alone, four times more doctors quit the profession than joined. He says his colleagues are demoralized by “the diseased systems for which we work.”
The disease is money. The primary measure of “care” is now how much profit the system generates for its uncaring corporate owners, so one’s health is largely dependent on one’s wealth. The morally abominable result is that hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths have occurred since the start of the pandemic.
Yes, profit-based health care is a killer. And it’s the creation of profiteers and the politicians they buy. It’s insane to let their greed dictate the allocation and quality of this essential human need.
Luckily, a better way is right in front of us: Medicare. This enormously popular public program of universal coverage for each and every American over 65 has proven to be an effective and fair system that is far cheaper and much, much more caring than Wall Street’s privatized scheme.
So, let’s eliminate the profiteers by extending Medicare to all of us — every woman, man, and child in our society. To help go to: OurRevolution.com/issues.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. This op-ed was distributed by OtherWords.org.