At just one checkpoint in Yuma, Arizona, up to 6,000 Americans cross the border every day and enter the bustling Mexican town of Los Algodones, seeking heath care.
Unlike the Trump administration that seeks to build a wall between the countries, Los Algodones welcomes Americans seeking dental care with open arms.
Los Algodones has to be seen to believed. There are more dentists per capita than anywhere else in the world. It seems like every square foot of public space wall is covered with advertisements promising quality and affordable dental care, vision care and prescription drugs. The community’s economy is built to serve the flood of “dental refugees” — mostly senior citizens from the US and Canada seeking major dental care they cannot afford in their own countries, even with insurance.
America’s health care system is a pathetic implosion.
As someone who administered state Medicaid in Pacific County and who became aware of as many uninsured citizens in an hour as an enterprising researcher could find in a day, I consider the above seriously understated.
Adequate healthcare exists in this country. The failure of the system is the notion that healthcare is a commodity to be managed and marketed as a for-sale product subject to supply and demand. Healthcare for everybody is a joke when approached in the capitalistic process of supply and demand.
People are unable to do a lot of comparison shopping when they are sick. The overwhelming need for health care is when someone is sick, not when they are well.
A market-based approach in this country is the failed altruism of corporate capitalism which for decades has trumpeted the idea that the market could and WOULD take care of society’s poor. That by definition is an impossibility given the formal constitutional definition for a “corporation.”
That definition literally justifies – even encourages – a single-prioritized bottom-line profit-based approach to enterprises supposedly created to accomplish public good because individuals and small communities cannot create sufficient capital to accomplish it by themselves. It’s an approach that has everything to do with some sort of corporate right (a la a human citizen/person’s right) to the pursuit of happiness – precisely because corporate pursuit of happiness is pursuit of profit, not public good.
It would be like giving a giant leech a constitutionally guaranteed right and protection to suck up the life blood of every citizen and community.
… unless of course one “conservatively ” defines “public good” as equal to what’s good for business.
I’m against any kind of market-based approach to universal health care.
Our objective should not be that the highest priority is what’s good for business in this regard. It borders on oxymoron to even suggest that government should be run as a business first and foremost. One primary reason is that profit unreasonably gets asserted as more important than the public good.
Trumpco, as did Bushco earlier this century, has amply demonstrated the failure of corporate capitalism to successfully care for its citizens or even to wage war (as if waging war were a constitutional obligation rather than national expediency) in the most economically wise and efficient manner. For example, the Medicare D Supplement in reality is a massive act of corporate capitalist foolishness birthed by greed and lobby payments – not honest public discourse on the highest public good.
Speaking “capitalistically” and “market-basedly” we do not – when our house catches fire – call the fire department and make arrangements to pay a deductible before they will come. Our taxes have already paid for that.
… or if we hear an intruder in the house, we do not call the police and negotiate a deductible or co-pay term before they come out to keep us safe. Our taxes pay for that.
… Why the hell do we do that to ourselves regarding our most precious personal asset – health?
“Because taxes could go up,” defenders of the market-based capitalist religion declare. To which even non-MBA’s like me who have spent hundreds of hours at the kitchen table working out budgets reply that it’s all in the budget priorities. We must be spending too much somewhere else, eh? Like perhaps on a paranoid and insecure but profit-driven wide-eyed defense and weapons industry?
The assumption is false and we are asleep. Market-based corporatists want us to stay that way.
It is all about bull shit …the selling of bull shit … the buying of bull shit … the lying about bull shit … and the harming of an entire society by overdosing on bull shit.
When a wild-eyed elderly woman comes into my office saying she’s heard terrible horror stories about socialized medicine in Canada I’m ready to throw up or throw my hands in the air.
Think about it.
Great Britain apparently launched their version of socialized medicine right after WW II when they were not far removed from financial insolvency. Over the years the Brits have not even come close to scrapping it.
Well hell, because maybe what they’ve got – what Canada and France have – works fine enough that their national public good and well-being far outweighs whatever problems come up. Regardless of American corporate lies, those problems certainly are not the nightmares our lobbied-and-prompted politicians, insurers and care providers constantly try to scare us with.
How DO they pay for it? With taxes of course.
Why COULDN’T we pay for it with taxes? We could, of course.
We might have to give up or cut back to reasonable levels some other kind of spending – like defense.
Of course we could and of course we should.
Those opposed to cutting back military spending are not driven by fear of a massively global military monolith with resources approaching a trillion dollars and planning an all-out attack and invasion of our homeland. They are driven by a fear of loss of profits.
Get the terrorists yes … but with honest police work and funded actions appropriate to legitimate need as a wise economic response.
But do we really need full-monte massive military assaults with nukes, 37 divisions plus the 4th, 5th , 6th, 7th, and 8th Fleets and the 98th, 99th and 100th Bomber Wings … hell no!!
But of course that’s another story to debate elsewhere whenever we get serious about sourcing and budgeting much more important issues, like being 37th in global health effectiveness.
Besides, that attack and invasion has already occurred.
It began years ago when we naively swallowed corporate bait-and-switch philosophy – without any critical thinking or understanding that lobbyists were serious (they always MEANT business) – hook, line and sinker.
We were attacked and invaded by corporate sharks who only got more openly savage about it after 2000 when Dirty Dingus McBush open the trapdoors and helped the corporate Trojan Horse drop a massive pile of stinking biscuits smack dab in every living room and homeless shelter in America.
So in terms of market-based medicine for America, our medicine-based marketing sharks would be the ones in ICU if we ever woke up,
if we ever narrowed our wide-eyed naïveté and went shopping for a better system.
The rules to play by are hidden in one corner under a bag of sh*t – precisely where the corporate capitalists and their lip service want them. That corner is the one least likely visited by anyone with a fuse short enough to be lit by awareness of snake oil marketing and market manipulation.
I see the most rapid solution as that of moving the discussion out of the realm of governmental political discourse and into the realm of word-of-mouth indignation at specific corporate practices or specific corporate entities themselves.
Scale and size are more important in generating publicity and ill will toward a corporate entity or practice rather than a hope for some direct legal action against a specific illegal, unethical or self-serving corporate behavior.
As a union member, I stopped shopping at Walmart a few years ago. In fact my cheap computer here is the last thing I’ve ever purchased at Walmart. Walmart’s treatment, manipulation and abuse of it’s employees is now sufficiently embedded in public awareness that there has been an impact.
But none of what I write can I suggest as viable solutions because of the simple fact that we as market participants, as corporate marks, as rubes, consuming gullibles and manipulatees are left to our own devices to get the shell gamers to play more fairly.
This because economic think tanks are not trustworthy. Their funding sources and all that.
Back to Open Markets. I personally do not see the open market as even a legitimate source of delivery of health services and health care. In having already put our communal health condition at the mercy of an open market, we seem to have made of health and well being a commodity – the ownership and distribution of which can be obtained, monopolized and … to quote your word … rationed.
Our health, our health care and especially that heroic life-saving aspect of health care where our collective skills are superlative (as opposed to preventative health care where our collective skills are inadequate) are something of which we need new dialogue …
… to discuss whether it belongs in the open marketplace at all …
or not ….
I think not.
A free-market preaches, especially those who get their talking points from fellow tavern-talkers don’t have enough common sense to perceive, let alone acknowledge the existing of constrained choices.
The constraints go way beyond getting locked in to a job or career because of the economy offered by covered health care expenses. Again, we’re the folks who let the suits expropriate public health and turn it into a replicate of big oil or big tobacco.
Free choice limited by official or unofficial associations of tag-teaming vendors all interested in price control at the highest level and then claiming that it’s what the market will bear is not free choice.
Free market implies that you and I can enter it without the permission of the big guys at the far end where the cash registers and price tag makers are stored.
Medicare D demonstrated this as all those health care providers and insurers will competitively cull themselves down and/or work survival mergers until there’s a core of ten outfits pocketing automatically-garnished-monthly-payments from your and my government retirement savings funds. This obscenity never had anything to do with a free or open market and its benefits in reality do not exist at all when you compare them with the other possibilities for reducing medicine costs … possibilities that never had to be included as part and parcel of the open market.
We could do with a lot more blowback against any business entity that openly harms the environment in undeniable ways but hides profit or business survival motives behind a facade of wise or accepted business practice which of course includes lengthy review and assessment of environmental issues while the abuse goes on.
On the public good
Citizens invest in fire stations to protect the public good. The preventative costs are minimal compared to the costs of disaster. It’s a public health and safety issue. When we all do better, we all do better.
Health care is also a public health and safety issue. Enlightened societies invest in health care to protect society’s investment. There are certain aspects of the public good that have an automatic stance to them – a pre-programmed or mutually agreed-upon knee-jerk reaction that gets initiated on demand when circumstances require.
That’s what fire and police stations do.
That’s what hospitals and ambulatory services do.
That’s how we ought to define public good and why we should pre-program ourselves to exclude health care from any public investment economic strategy that includes inviting one half of the open market .
Public good in terms of health, shelter and defense do not by default get offered to merchants who will unavoidably gravitate toward monopoly, self-preservation and that irresponsible expansion that ultimately demands constant expansion as a survival consequence.
The public good does not include elevating or creating greater opportunities for market participation to corporate merchants at the expense of little merchants and the entire base of the market, all the individual consumers.
As long as the public good is up for discussion, none of our conversations about the economy as a society will be valid until we examine our public spending priorities.
We seriously need to question our spending on military offense and defense that is so far out of proportion to actual need that the rest of our economy is only pretend.
Our current laissez faire (free market) system is feudalism. Very old school. Pretty easy to understand. The profiteers love the system. Everyone else can eat cake.
Universal healthcare, single payer, and the variants are all products of a socialist worldview. In the same way that fire stations, public schools, and clean water are socialist. Don’t be too shocked, the USA has had socialism lite in various forms since WWII. Social security, collective bargaining, trust busters, electrifying the country, etc. For the most part, these programs have worked out great.
The blind assumption that free and open market capitalism is the basis of America’s economic well-being from get-go has now come back to bite us on the butt.
Whatever free and open markets really are and whether or not they include choice, we have passively and apathetically let the hired help organize into corporations and take over the family business, the family farm, the family home and the community’s well being.
We should find some way to reward keeping people, society as a whole, healthy.
And we are under no obligation as a mature society – the grownups, if you will, who underwrite the well being of the nation – to assume that the current corporate capitalist version of a market economy is best for everyone. We absolutely must insist on refuting that lie.
If we don’t, the debate gets lowered to the level of whether or not you need two bathtubs on a cliff and a bottle of pills to get a 36-hour erection.
I find almost all of the advertising – political and consumer – to be highly offensive and insulting. But then I suspect that when it comes to the highest good of all concerned we are not a society of cultural maturity.