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Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

May 10th, 2013 12:49 AM

Selling Pain and Suffering to the Masses

Health Care Profits on the Sick and the Dead are Dear

From this point forward, as state health insurance exchanges begin to roll out their advertising and health insurance companies turn up the volume to advertise for more new, healthy, policyholders, we can expect even less truth-telling by the media about the sad state of affairs in the U.S. health care system.  The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is very good for business -- very good indeed.  And in this case the business is selling private health insurance coverage to as many healthy people as possible while pricing the sick, the old and the less desirable right out of coverage.  It's the business of making money off the pain and suffering of many, and it's very profitable indeed.

And it isn't just the health care industry that will benefit wildly from it.  Media giants, local media affiliates, ad agencies, and all manner of others involved in selling all that needs to be sold will be rolling in dollars.  All over the country, insurance companies will want to reach potential customers as folks begin to shop on the exchanges (er, marketplaces) for private health insurance.  Ad dollars will flow, and the media outlets will be thrilled to have the revenue. 

Just as I witnessed first hand during the 2009-2010 health reform debate in Washington, D.C., as major mainstream media organizations, like CNN, honeyed up to those with ad dollars to spend and gave them spots on various interview programs (I personally watched a person associated with Health Care for America Now whisked away by a CNN ad person after an interview with actual backslapping and all).  If you honestly believe news interview time isn't bartered as a part of ad deals, you are kidding yourself.  Ad revenues drive news programming and coverage.  If insurance companies are in the ad revenue drivers' seats, then there will be precious little negative news about anything related to private insurance.

Want proof that the medical-financial-industrial-complex controls what we learn about the health system crisis in this control?  Let's talk of the dead -- again.  45,000 every year due to lack of access to the care they needed -- the equivalent of a jetliner crashing every single day full of Americans who could have been saved every day but were not -- and we hear and see nothing of it except from lefty liberals like me.  we hear news reports endlessly about single murders, car accidents, and all manner of other killings in America, but the health care dead of 123 a day don't make the evening news or even one column inch in any of our major print news publications.  The old adage, "If it bleeds, it leads," just isn't true if that bleeding is due to direct and intentional injury and death caused by our for-profit health insurance companies and other health industry interests.

When will we have had enough?  How many dead people?  Half a million?  Nope.  We have tolerated that over the past decade or so.  I hope that those of us who are aware every day of the pain and suffering of our fellow Americans and our neighbors will one day tell the story ourselves to enough other people that rising up to end it with a sane, human rights based system will be our only logical conclusion.  I hear some people say there will have to be more civil disobedience first aimed at those at fault.  I don't know about that.

It seems to me that the dead and dying have been trying to tell us with their mounting numbers for a long time, and they apparently haven't held the attention of enough of us to yet make the difference in critical mass needed to demand an end to the madness.  There are plenty of doctors, lawyers, elected officials, Hollywood power-brokers, business leaders, well-connected and well-heeled others with influence above and beyond that of mortal people like me who know full well what is going on and they refuse to offset the massive advertising campaign of lies that keeps so many people in the dark and believing the myths until they too are sick or hurt and find out the truth too late. Why do they do it?  The profits are dear, a friend of mine said, the profits are dear.  And it is simply easier to turn your head the other way -- away from the stench and unpleasantness of death and suffering -- than it is to face it full out and accept that we can be so cruel to each other as to tolerate this for years without end.  Some of these well meaning people who do have power just turn their attention to something more immediately satisfying for themselves.

It doesn't have to be.  Improved and expanded Medicare for all for life would solve this in the most humane way and in a way that helps our economy.  And imagine a country in which 45,000 more people stay alive each year to watch commercials about new products and services they can actually afford to purchase and enjoy.  Imagine it just a little and then get in there with us and help make it so.

 

Posted first on DonnaSiCKO's blog, daily postings may be found at: http://donnasicko.blogspot.com/

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