Skip to content Skip to footer

Health Care: Let’s Have People Over Profits Once and for All

(Image: Health care via Shutterstock)

There are some things in this world that shouldn’t be turned into profit-making machines, and health care is definitely one of them.

Believe it or not, there was a time in America when in almost every state health insurance companies and hospitals were required to be nonprofits. Back then, Americans could actually get the health care and treatment they needed at affordable prices.

But then Ronald Reagan came to Washington, and you guessed it, everything changed.

Suddenly, there was money to be made off of health care in America, and a lot of it.

Banksters realized that these once-nonprofit hospitals, health insurers, and nursing homes had the potential to become absolute gold mines.

Former Sen. Bill Frist’s family, for example, made billions in the 1980s and 1990s privatizing formerly county and city hospitals, slashing salaries, busting unions and raising prices.

Slowly but surely, corporations and the wealthy elite took over our health care system, and have left us with a health care nightmare.

That’s why according to a new study by a prominent think tank, the United States ranks dead last in a review of healthcare in the industrialized world.

For the fifth time in a row, the U.S. has been ranked last in the Commonwealth Fund’s annual review of health care in developed nations.

The review looked at health care access, efficiency and equity in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.

Of the nations included in the review, the United States had the highest percentage of citizens who didn’t get medical care because they couldn’t afford it.

A staggering 37 percent of Americans said they didn’t get a prescription, see a doctor, or seek out other medical care, because they were worried about the costs.

On the flip side, just four percent of people in the United Kingdom said they skipped out on healthcare because of cost concerns.

So why such a large disparity?

The United Kingdom has universal health care.

In fact, every country the Commonwealth Fund looked at has universal health care, except the U.S.

The U.S. is the ONLY free-market country in the world without a universal health care system, and – not coincidentally – the only one with such a large involvement of for-profit companies in the health care marketplace.

Countries with universal nonprofit health care don’t have millions of people struggling to afford health care.

And they don’t have millions of people skipping out on prescriptions because they cost too much money.

From Switzerland to Italy, and Norway to France, health care is considered a basic human right. No one questions the notion that everyone, no matter who they are, is entitled to lifesaving and affordable health care.

But the differences in health care outcomes in the U.S. and in Europe go beyond just universal health care.

You see, health care isn’t a profit-making machine in Europe the way it is in the U.S.

In fact, in Switzerland, not only is there universal health care, but health insurers are FORBIDDEN from making a profit on basic health insurance coverage, because the Swiss realize, and accept, that health care and ballooning profits don’t go together.

They realize that profit incentives have to be removed if a health care system is going to work for everyone.

Since it went into effect, Obamacare has done tremendous things for health care in America. It’s allowed millions of Americans to get the health care and treatment they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

An April Gallup study found that as many as 9.9 million Americans have gotten new health insurance under Obamacare, and more than 4 percent of Americans have gotten health insurance for the first time in their lives.

But Obamacare is just one piece of the puzzle.

If we truly want to have a health care system that works for all, than we need to go back to the days before Reagan, when health care wasn’t a cash cow for Wall Street bankers.

Unless we take Wall Street’s skin out of the game, health care in America will never work for everyone.

It’s time to put people over profits once and for all, and require hospitals and health insurance companies to once again become nonprofits.

We have hours left to raise $12,000 — we’re counting on your support!

For those who care about justice, liberation and even the very survival of our species, we must remember our power to take action.

We won’t pretend it’s the only thing you can or should do, but one small step is to pitch in to support Truthout — as one of the last remaining truly independent, nonprofit, reader-funded news platforms, your gift will help keep the facts flowing freely.