The Devastating Effects of the American Healthcare System.

It’s time to call the big pharma and health insurance industries what they are.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo via Unsplash

Like never before the failure of the American system of healthcare has been a subject of conversation across the nation, and naturally the democratic politicians in particular have been pressured to address it (thanks to Bernie Sanders).

As the topic of healthcare continues to grow more and more commonplace it’s beginning to sink in just how brutal and inhumane our system actually is. Whether we’re discussing pharmaceutical companies or the health insurance industry, we have to acknowledge the extent of how their money driven operations are actually impacting the American people.

By definition, a corporation has an inherent necessity to expand their profits. For health insurance and pharmaceutical companies, their profits come at the most detrimental expense to the masses. It boggles the mind that people are losing their cars, their credit, life savings, their homes, and their lives because a corporation has determined that their inability to afford coverage means their lives are of absolutely no value.

If you ignore the severe abdominal pain and avoid going to the emergency room because the deductible is too high, what does it matter to the insurance company if your appendix burst? What does it matter to the insurance company if your colon cancer is stage four when discovered because you could not afford to see a doctor when the symptoms began? What does it matter to the pharmaceutical company if you die because you can no longer afford your life saving medication, after the medication costs tripled over the course of just a couple years?

Insurance and pharmaceutical companies are not “providers”, they’re agents of trauma.

The very idea that there are organizations that are functionally designed to profit from denying human beings medication or healthcare coverage has become to ingrained in us, that as a society we have forgotten just how immoral it actually is.

The trauma these corporations inflict have far reaching impacts that reach us in our lowest and most vulnerable moments. People are ending up in emergency rooms regularly because they’ve rationed insulin after they can no longer afford it. As if that wasn’t devastating enough, the hospital bill for tens of thousands of dollars afterwards is an added cherry on top. The possible scenarios of what happens next to someone who winds up in that situation are too numerous to count, when in reality it doesn’t even have to happen in the first place.

It’s time to change the narrative surrounding these corporations entirely. The trauma their business practices inflict are not some sort of necessary evil. They do not even need to exist in the first place. Without even a second thought about what it will cost for the fireman to get there, we are able to call 911 if our house is on fire. They’re not going to ask you if you have fire insurance before they decide if they’ll come put out the fire and wait for it to spread. Policemen aren’t going to ask if members of a community have police insurance before they answer a burglary call, and wait for it to spread to houses that are covered before they come address the crime.

Like fires and crime spread, so can the implications of lack of healthcare and drug prices, often with even more devastating results. It’s time to accept that the way of doing things cannot be sustained, and it’s time to end the epidemic of greed that’s affecting the lives of countless people in ways too extensive to even imagine. The question is not how can we afford to address the issue with the implementation programs like Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All. The question is how can we afford not to?

Written by

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at or Twitter @xlauren_mx

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store