Friday, September 16, 2011

On a Broken Health Care System, Ron Paul, Tea Party Ghouls, and a Man With 150lb Testicles

I can't laugh. I simply can't.

I do wonder though, how the ghouls at the Tea Party GOP debate on Monday who laughed at the thought of someone dying for lack of insurance would react to a man who has received criminally negligent care for his 150 pound testicles?

I also wonder what would have transpired if the moderators at the CNN debate had asked Ron Paul about care for an unlucky person whose genitals are so enlarged that he can barely leave the house? Would the charities and churches step up to help John, he who is plagued with edema of the testes?

Universal health care is a human rights issue. It is also a basic issue of economic efficiency where Americans receive some of the worst health care in the advanced industrialized world while spending the most for treatment.

To point, do check out John's entire interview on the Howard Stern. His experience is an ideal typical case that exemplifies all that is wrong with America's broken health care system.

When I hear stories such as this, it is abundantly clear that we are truly a laughing stock.

In all, I struggle to understand the following: how can the flag waving American exceptionalism crowd not feel any embarrassment and lower their heads in shame at the sorry state of medicine in these United States?

I have long known the answer.

Empathy is not a standing prior for Conservatives. Their reaction to the neediest, the most vulnerable, and the poor is proof of that fact. While Conservatives are fond of crowing about a truism which suggests that folks like them give the most to charity, I have long realized that such acts of "generosity" are vainglorious deeds of self-affirmation and not part of a principle of mutual aid and support in the interest of the Common Good.

Am I wrong?


Mrs. Chili said...

You are not wrong. What I wonder is why those many of us who understand this are not coming together to resist the trend i our society away from compassion and humanity. Why are we not rising up?

chaunceydevega said...

@Chili. Exhaustion. Misdirection. Caught up in the glare of consumerism. A sense that both parties are corrupt, so why bother?

Anonymous said...

CDV --

Actually, while I agree with you on the abject shame Americans should feel that they cannot agree on the moral necessity of providing basic health care to all, the widespread belief that this ethical travesty is the primary cause of our terrible health outcomes is simply wrong.

(This is the very center of my research agenda):

"The stark fact is that most disease on the planet is a product of the conditions in which people work and live." (Stonington, Holmes, PLoS Medicine Editors 2006).

What this means, and I assure you that the U.S. is no exception, is that it is not access to health care that determines health and its distribution in human populations, but rather social and economic conditions that are its prime determinants. In turn, we know darn well that social inequalities kill, and that one of these social conditions that exerts a large impact on health is stigma and discrimination, including (especially) racism.

(Stigma and) Racism is terrible for your health. So of the myriad travesties you cover so well at WARN, when it comes to health and the grievous and growing inequities we have in the U.S., the most important travesty IMO is not unequal access to health care, but terrible inequities in income status, education, housing, occupation, and exposures to violence, environmental hazards, racism and discrimination, etc.

Somehow, I doubt empathy on these latter determinants is forthcoming from the plutocrats.

chaunceydevega said...


That plays nicely with the data released this week on poverty and mortality rate in the great recession. What you wrote is really meme worthy. Would you be willing to right up something on the subject? Perhaps a list or quick points on the common misunderstandings about health care, race, and poverty?

Anonymous said...

Happy to do so, CDV. Will send it by email ASAP.

Nancy Green said...

The media missed the most radical thing that Ron Paul said. He said the problem is that doctors are licensed--kills competition. What was it like before we had all these annoying regulations? Everything was curable, as long as you bought a bottle of Golden Medical Discovery...

Nancy Green said...

If you walk through my city, Providence, you will see people with visible and terrible untreated health problems. Ultimately, we spend the money when people end up in the hospital.

nomad said...

"it is not access to health care that determines health and its distribution in human populations, but rather social and economic conditions that are its prime determinants"

Interesting, but isn't lack of economic means the same as lack of access to healthcare in a system that doesn't provide universal healthcare?

Anonymous said...


Income is of course a major determinant of health, but the pathways through which the income-health relationship turn out to have a lot less to do with health care services than most people think.

The evidence for this is extraordinarily good. So it is certainly true to say that among the things income security provides, health care services might be one of them. What is generally not true is the idea that income is primarily important to health insofar as it purchases access to health care.

nomad said...

Okay. I'd be interested to see the evidence.