This is the story of our growing Health Care crisis and the necessary shift in our national priorities to get things turned around.
Largely it’s a story of how politicians have become oblivious to the needs of our people and have sacrificed those needs in favor of serving special interests. I believe in representing people – not special interests.
Delivering quality and affordable Health Care for every American is an absolute priority for this Congressional campaign. It has been a personal pledge and commitment for my entire political career.
With upwards of 50 million Americans without health insurance, and the people that do have coverage not using it because they can’t afford the co-pays, premiums or deductibles, the ruthless reality of our Health Care system is frankly, inhumane.
I support Medicare for all, but at the very least every American should immediately have access to the insurance plan that members of Congress now enjoy. Without delay, this should be passed straight away in the first hundred hours when the 111th Congress convenes in January of 2009.
As Health Care costs rise dramatically, millions of Americans are living in a state of fear of going bankrupt and being sent to the poor house if they get sick. And yet callous politicians, like my opponent, refuse to help.
Even in the midst of our worsening economy, Rep. Akin shockingly voted to maintain the unaffordable regime of rising costs in Health Care.
Akin voted to prohibit Medicare from negotiating drug discounts with manufacturers, keeping drug prices high and preserving huge and unfair profits for pharmaceutical corporations. Consequently, Akin received a low score of only 11% by the American Public Health Association (APHA) on health issues.
In 2007, Rep. Akin voted to deny Health Care for 4 million children.
How is it possible that in America today we are so accustomed with guaranteeing a child an education and yet if that child falls sick we don’t allow for that child to visit a doctor? It doesn’t make sense now, does it?
Our country is the only industrialized nation without coverage for all her citizens and we spend twice as much per capita than any other nation for our Health Care – 17% of our GNP. That’s 90% more than Germany, France or Canada. And don’t think that America is paying a premium for quality because the World Health Organization ranks us at 37th, sandwiched between Slovenia and Costa Rica. An overemphasis on corporate profits has swept away the most basic human needs of the American people. Our Health Care is too expensive and it’s broken.
Why is it that Health Care in America costs so much?
In our current privatized system, over 30% of the cost pays for expensive Washington lobbyists, exorbitant salaries of CEOs, extravagant corporate jets and flashy advertising campaigns. Money skimmed right off the top before any care is ever provided.
Another moral failing is the insurance industry’s sole-focus on profits as opposed to healing, creating an adversarial relationship between care providers and their patient’s needs.
Today, we find insurance corporations scheming to save costs by using lame excuses, citing medical preconditions and controlling hospitals and doctors in refusing care to patients. It is unconscionable that we have let things get so far off track.
How did all this happen?
Over the years, the pharmaceutical, insurance and medical industry have increased their influence on Congress, as they spend billions on Washington lobbyists and fund the campaigns of many members of the US House and Senate. They have succeeded in dominating Federal regulatory policy to serve their profit motives. In many cases, lobbyists have actually written the laws affecting the industries they represent.
Now, the barriers to the people’s voice from being heard will not fall away voluntarily. These special interests have a lot of motivation to shut down any reforms that may impinge upon their profits.
With catchy slogans such as, “If you think Health Care is expensive now, wait until it’s free,” many of their paid-for spokespeople, including elected officials, will attempt to dismiss calls for reform as “socialized medicine”.
Most Missourians are waking up to the ridiculousness of these arguments as we already have national examples of viable single-payer programs up and running in the form of Medicare, taking care of folks and operating at a fraction of the cost.
To quote bestselling author Thom Hartman’s book, Screwed: The Undeclared War On The Middle Class,
“According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, if all of America’s health insurance companies, HMOs, and other middlemen were eliminated, and the government simply paid your medical costs directly to whomever you chose to provide you with health care, the savings would be so great that without increasing the health-care budget we could provide cradle-to-grave health care for every American.
That’s because for every $100 that passes through the hands of the government-administered Medicare programs, between $2 and $3 is spent on administration, leaving $97 to $98 to pay for medical services and drugs.
But of every $100 that flows through the corporate insurance programs and HMOs, $10 to $34 sticks to corporate fingers along the way.”
Political wisdom, bipartisan support and actually getting things done must be weighed with the ideals and principles for the specifics of whichever plan finally materializes.
The Democratic Presidential candidates – Obama and Clinton – both have offered plans for fixing our Health Care crisis, and although none can be considered strictly single-payer like Medicare, they all succeed in creating a very important paradigm shift in our thinking.
A NEW NATIONAL PRIORITY: PROVIDING CARE FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT
Now that we’ve started to unpack the problem of the massive political influence that the pharmaceutical and insurance industries leverage upon our corridors of power, sadly, it becomes very clear why there’s a denial of service afflicting Americans.
It’s because profits have been put above people.
I believe that we as a nation are better than that, that we are more compassionate with our fellow human beings and more sensitive to the needs of each member of our American family.
The gravy train of greed, enjoyed by the HMOs, pharmaceuticals, medical and insurance corporations must end.
I consider it a moral and fiscal imperative to fix our broken Health Care system and will fight to establish the fact that in our country, nobody has to live in fear of becoming sick and being left behind; that in America, we take care of our own.
The solution is for our political leaders to heed the wisdom found in the philosophy of the oath taken by our physicians, “to do no harm”.
The solution is for Congress to put the interests of the American people first.
“Together, we can get Missouri and America back on track”