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Health Care and the Election

Three of the main issues in this election concern health care: the Covid-19 virus, Obama Care, and Roe v. Wade.

The health industry, particularly doctors’ groups and hospitals, has been remarkable quiet about the Covid crisis.  Only a few academics and government officials have been outspoken.  Local news shows often have individual doctors advising people to wear masks, but the AMA, hospital owners such as the Hospital Corporation of America, or insurance companies such as Aetna, have been quiet.  The exception has been the pharmaceutical companies, because they stand to make tons of money from a Covid vaccine.  They have mainly sung their own praises, rather than work on a strategy for dealing with the Covid-19 crisis.  In fact, the health industry has been reluctant to criticize Trump, because he has been good for their profits, leaving the criticism mainly to the media and some academic pundits. 

The talk about “Obama Care” in this election illustrates how bad the American health care industry has become.  While the political debate is focused on health insurance costs and availability, the real issue has been the inability or unwillingness of the health care industry to care for the American population.  For sure, certain sectors of the population have good care, but the population as a whole is not well served. 

The main problem with the American health care system is its focus on money rather than wellness.  Doctors make money when people get sick; they don’t make money if people stay well.  Therefore, their focus is on treating an acute ailment, rather than on keeping people healthy.  In addition, because of the obsession with money, poor people cannot get treatment for their acute illnesses, much less for care that would keep them well.  Obama Care is basically a way to get treatment for some poor people while keeping doctors very rich.  Doctors have tended to deal with Covid-19 as acutely sick patients to be threated individually rather than as a public health crisis to be dealt with by focusing on keeping people well, just as they treat people for a broken leg or a heart attack, rather than focus on wellness to keep people out of their offices or hospitals.   

Roe v. Wade, the abortion case, is a medical issue because it is a medical procedure.  It is an image problem for some doctors with some people, because they perceive doctors who perform abortions as murders, and being a member of a profession that includes a number of murderers tends to sully the reputations of all the members of that profession, at least with those who avidly oppose abortion. 

The fact that three of the main issues in this election are about health care indicates the depth of the problem for the industry in the US. Health care is a misnomer.  There is no care or love in the health “care” system.  It’s about money.  Many doctors start out performing real health “care” working in emergency rooms or small private practices, but they graduate to high paying specialties or lucrative private practices, and it is these well paid doctors who lead the industry publicly and politically.  They look out for their financial interests. 

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