- One American dies every 12 minutes
- American prison inmates receive medical treatment guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment
- Terrorists in American prisons receive medical treatment
- Health care insurance CEOs earn millions of dollars annually
- People without health care insurance have a 40 percent increase in risk of death
- Health care insurance companies have increased rates by 130 percent in the last decade
- In 2006, the average employer-based health care insurance plan cost over $11,000
- The United States ranks 43rd in infant mortality rate
- Health care insurance companies put profits before life
Where do you fit in this picture?
Realistically, there is not a career position for every single citizen in the United States Government or military…and if a military-ran government controlled the entire country, American society would be quite different than what it is today. In fact, it would be run much like the Junta of Myanmar — the country formerly known as Burma. <– Probably not a good idea anyway.
We must strike a happy medium. The United States has struggled economically from time to time, but we’ve been fortunate enough to transcend the Great Depression and recessions through generations come and gone. Some of the better leaders of our time initiated programs to help the poor, the elderly, and the meek. FDR signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935. To this day, American citizens reap the benefits of this retirement program. President Johnson took health care by the bull horns by signing the Medicare program into law in 1965. Other humanitarian health programs like Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income were established later to help individuals stricken with disability. Does the system work perfectly without any hitches? No. Does it serve the people overall? Yes.
Today, we’re faced with a major, preventable atrocity here in these United States. One American dies every 12 minutes due to lack of health care. Could you imagine if we were losing one soldier every 12 minutes in Afghanistan or Iraq? Do you believe for one moment that our troops would still be deployed in those regions? I didn’t think so. Opponents of a public option or Medicare-for-all type program might argue that these citizens will die anyway…collateral damage of big insurance warfare on the American people. There is truth to the argument, though…we ALL do have a date with the grim reaper. However, those of us who have health care insurance have a fighting chance to prolong our lives here on earth. In fact, those who lack health care insurance coverage have a 40 percent increased risk of death due to that lack. “Oh, but it’s going to cost so much,” argue naysayers. Fact of the matter is that providing health care insurance competition like a public option or Medicare-for-all program would inevitably help reduce health care costs in the long term; whilst giving American citizens the necessary means to acquiring health care. It’s an all or nothing philosophy — share and share alike. Subsequently, the “do for all” philosophy was initiated by Donald Rumsfeld during his tenor with the last administration. Under his leadership, every Iraqi man, woman and child was given roughly $3,500 US taxpayer-funded money to promote “free market capitalism.” What a world in which we live. As far as President Obama’s health care reform package, the cost of war since 2001 has already exceeded estimated costs of this health care package.
It certainly pays to be a health insurance tycoon. Funny thing is that the largest heist of the century is un-ashamedly being conducted right before our eyes. Not only do health insurance companies facilitate highway robbery on a daily basis, they often deny health care treatments to paying citizens because of deliberately-designed bureaucratic loop holes to deny that coverage. In this last decade, big health care insurance companies have hiked their rates by 130+ percent. I guess if you’re a CEO like CIGNA’s Edward Hanway, you might enjoy the $120 million annual salary. Paling by comparison are the atrocious stories of 17-year old Nataline Sarkisyan, who died mercilessly due to the neglect of CIGNA; or the not-so-known stories of battered women across America who are denied health care treatments by big insurance companies because assault and battery of women is considered a pre-existing condition. Of course there are countless other reports of health care treatment denials…but those are the death panels that the media does not cover in the local or national news headlines. Big health care insurance companies have tenaciously used death panels, which decide the fate of Americans who live or die each and every day. It’s as simple as that.
The legal inequities of health care
Were you aware that denial of health care treatment is considered torture? Allow me to do a play on words here: If the American people are prisoners to big health care insurance companies and we are denied health care coverage — does that qualify as torture? If American citizens pay taxes to pay for government-ran programs like emergency and fire rescue services, utilities, law enforcement, social services, roads and highway maintenance, national park services (including beaches, mountain ranges, etc.), and other too-many-to-list services, are we not entitled to health care? In fact, according to the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, individuals are guaranteed the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, which the Supreme Court has determined to include the right of prisoners to have access to medical care. States like Texas pay $270 million annually in health care for its inmate population. Though some States have begun charging inmates a nominal co-pay for these health care services, by law they are entitled to health care treatments because it is considered torture by the Supreme Court to deny that treatment. I agree. If we house inmates, it is our responsibility as American citizens to demonstrate humanity even to the worst offenders. We have inevitably become our brother’s keeper. In addition, who do you think foots the bill for emergency medical care treatments for Iraqi citizens? That’s right — the American taxpayer. But again, we are our brother’s keeper, so we must at least treat others with basic human rights.
In a twist of irony, Fox News Health Blog features Dr. Manny Alvarez, who wrote an interesting article titled, “Want Free Health Care? Commit a Crime.” Alvarez states, “It’s not the patient’s fault. Many patients choose insurance companies out of economic needs, or sometimes they don’t even realize the limitations in their choice of health care insurance provider…As I researched this topic to try and find solutions to our health care dilemma, I was shocked to find the only people in this country who have a constitutional right to health care services are prison inmates.” Is that what this nation has become? Are we, as American citizens, so deprived of humanity and compassion…collateral damage of an empirical elite group of health insurance companies that we must first commit a crime to receive health care treatments?
We cannot take the physical abuse of big health care insurance companies that play God on a daily basis. We must stop big health care insurance companies and their clandestine death panels. We must provide affordable health care options to those who cannot join the armed forces, who are disabled, who work and power our country in manufacturing plants, service industries like restaurants, retail stores, and other common fields. Where would we be, after all, if it weren’t for average citizens, who work tirelessly to supply us with life necessities like toilet paper, clothing, mechanic work, groceries, and other merchandise and essential services? One American dies every 12 minutes. It could be you, it could be me. You or I could be involved in an accident, acquire a terminal illness, lose a job, or worse. How long are we willing to wait for a public health care option that will finally end the health care insurance atrocity that has become the Achilles heel of American society?
One American Dies Every 12 Minutes
OPED by CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd
Social Media Sorceress and more