There is No Justifying the American Healthcare System.

No more excuses for the maintenance of a system so fundamentally unjust.

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Photo via Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

I was fortunate enough to grow up relatively healthy.

Other than a diagnosis of Kawasaki Disease when I was three, and a genetic condition that will likely cause a lot of health problems for me later on down the line, I’ve been lucky. Even then, I still learned early on how ugly our health insurance system can be.

At eleven years old, my parents told me that the insurance company was not going to cover a drug that — due to my genetic condition — my body required in order to function the way it was supposed to. They said there was nothing left to do, other than try writing a letter that would come from me personally.

At the time, I didn’t really think anything of it. I wrote the letter, and a few weeks later the drug was covered. I didn’t know then how fundamentally wrong it was for an eleven year old to have to sit down and write a letter to an insurance company asking them to pay for a drug that my body needed in order to function correctly. I didn’t know then that I was one of the lucky ones. I didn’t know that it didn’t have to be that way.

Most of us have seen either firsthand or know of someone who has dealt with the undeniable, abhorrent injustice of the American profit-driven healthcare system. Whether it be the insurance companies that have the power to decide what they will or will not cover regardless of what it means for the human being that’s bought their plan, or the pharmaceutical companies that engage in price gauging behavior with lifesaving drugs such as insulin all in the name of money, we know how terrible and devastating it can get.

My question is: at what point do we say enough is enough, and stop justifying the existence of this system?

It cannot be stressed enough that we are forced to operate within a system where a company is allowed to decide the value of our lives, based on whether or not we can afford to pay them. Far too often, those in positions of power fail to put it within that framework, and that’s frankly unacceptable. While the intricacies or our healthcare system are complex, to discuss it anywhere outside of that framework is simply a lie.

It’s time to be honest with ourselves and with each other. Any politician who stands up in front of a crowd or goes on national television, and tells the American people that they just want us to have “options” is NOT looking out for your best interests. A healthcare system with “options” consisting of private companies is a system in which those companies have the “option” to deny you coverage for a lifesaving drug or surgery.

Think about it.

There are certain things that morally and ethically cannot have a profit motive behind them, and healthcare is just one of them. At what point did we decide that a CEO’s profits come before our livelihood? We have become so entrenched in this system that we’ve forgotten it doesn’t have to be this way, and it’s time to stop justifying it. We can do better, and we deserve better. There are dozens of countries who have provided clear examples of systems monumentally better than ours, and it’s time to learn from what they continue to teach us.

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

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