Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Health Care and the Ghosts of War

Speaking in a time of war, Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Somehow this  madness must cease.”

Forty-one years later, young soldiers are returning to the United States  from terrifying zones of carnage. The old claims of a justified war have  melted away. So have the promises of a humane society back home.

Statistics about the war dead tell us very little about human realities. And  familiar downbeat numbers about health care — 47 million Americans with no  health insurance, perhaps an equal number woefully under-insured — tell us  very little about the actual consequences or other options.

“The shocking facts about health care in the United States are well known,”  Yes! Magazine noted in the autumn of 2006. “There’s little argument that the  system is broken. What’s not well known is that the dialogue about fixing  the health care system is just as broken.”

That’s an apt description. For all the media focus and political rhetoric on  health care, the mainline discourse is stuck in a corporate-friendly rut.  But there are signs that a movement for a rational, humanistic health care  system in this country is now gaining strength.

A few hours after writing these words, I’ll be at a large demonstration in  San Francisco. The lightning rod for this historic June 19 protest is a  national meeting of America’s Health Insurance Plans, an outfit that  cheerily pitches itself as “a national trade association representing nearly  1,300 member companies providing health benefits to more than 200 million  Americans.”

As it happens, this meeting of America’s Health Insurance Plans got underway  just as news broke that the congressional “leadership” has devised a formula  to fully fund more war. “Democratic and GOP leaders in the House announced  agreement Wednesday on a long-overdue war funding bill they said President  Bush would be willing to sign,” the Associated Press reported. The bill  would “provide about $165 billion to the Pentagon to fund military  operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for about a year.”

There’s a lot of profit in death. Under the guise of national security. And  under the guise of health care.

Today, across the United States, people are dying because they don’t have  access to health care. But policy solutions are available. In Congress,  about 90 co-sponsors are backing H.R. 676, a bill to provide “comprehensive  health insurance coverage for all United States residents.” Call it whatever  you like — “single payer” or “improved Medicare for all” or “universal  health care with choice of providers and no financial barriers.” What it  adds up to is the policy option of treating health care as the human right  that it is.

In the latest edition of “Health Care Meltdown,” author C. Rocky White  identifies himself as “a conservative Republican who has always held an  entrepreneurial ‘pull yourself up by your own bootstraps’ free-market  philosophy.” A longtime physician, White describes “the frustration I began  to experience while trying to provide compassionate, quality health care in  the context of a market in which the accustomed rules of business economics  don’t apply.”

Dr. White immersed himself in research on health care policy and finance.  Then he pored through reams of the latest data on the tradeoffs of reform  options. “No matter how I turned the cube,” he writes, “the answer never  changed. That answer was nearly impossible for me, a free-market Republican,  to accept.”

Here are Dr. White’s two key conclusions in his own words:

* “Until we remove the motive of profit from the financing of health care,  we cannot and we will not resolve our current health care crisis.”

* “Any group that proposes reform policy that maintains the use of  for-profit insurance companies in a so-called free market is being driven by  one single motive — to protect the golden coffers of their share of the $2  trillion cash cow!”

Dr. White adds: “To continue down this road is paramount to suggesting that  we privatize our fire and police services and turn them into for-profit  organizations. You do that and people will die — just like they are dying  now under our current health care system!”

Grotesquely, the insurance and hospital industries at the center of health  care in the United States are, in effect, profiting from priorities that  condemn many people to death and many more to avoidable suffering.

Meanwhile, corporate enterprises continue to make a killing from U.S.  military expenditures now in the vicinity of $2 billion per day.

During a wartime speech in 1969, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist George  Wald said: “Our government has become preoccupied with death, with the  business of killing and being killed.”

The preoccupation continues.

“When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are  considered more important than people,” Martin Luther King observed, “the  giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable  of being conquered.”

Still, somehow, this madness must cease.

NORMAN SOLOMON, the author of “War Made Easy,” is a national co-chair of  Healthcare NOT Warfare. The  other co-chairs of the campaign, launched by Progressive Democrats of  America, are Donna Smith (featured in “Sicko”), Marilyn Clement (national  coordinator of Healthcare-NOW) and Rep. John Conyers, chief sponsor of H.R.  676.

 

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Wim Laven
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
David Yearsley
Shock-and-Awe Inside Oracle Arena
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail