Friday, April 08, 2005

Take the price tag off

Healthcare: Individuals versus Institutions

American society favors the welfare of institutions over that of individuals.
Byrne, Rick. "Lifetime Promise?"1 April, 2005.

The author interviewed Basil Chapman, a retired steel-worker and union negotiator.

QUOTE:"This story is part of a wholesale shift in risk from companies to families," says David Brancaccio, host of the PBS newsmagazine NOW, which is featuring Chapman in a report on April 1. "Healthcare costs are rising, but increasingly companies are insulating themselves from these costs with individuals left to shoulder the burden."
With no place for promises on corporate balance sheets, companies are turning to the fine print with their eye on the bottom line. California-based GenCorp is relying on a sentence in an enrollment form their employees signed a decade ago to increase monthly premiums. GenCorp, formerly the General Tire & Rubber Company, a tire manufacturer you may remember from its slogan: "Sooner or later you'll own General," has workers worried that sooner or later they'll have to drop out of their coverage because it's too expensive. ...As these cases make their way through the courts, there's little risk for the companies, which if they lose, will simply have to resume paying the benefits. In the meantime, Chapman says, retirees who can't wait will drop out, and for others it may just end up being a lifetime. "It's disturbing and scary for older people," he says. "They just die." END QUOTE.

Only in a world where the individual means nothing is there no room for promises on corporate contracts, balance sheets, etc. Invested money is more precious than living blood.The individual, old in this case, but certainly young in many, is not worth as much as the employer's investment in him or her. That is what society is saying when it does not allow the existence of universal health insurance in the United States. We claim to value health so much, and we express our esteem in the perversion of medicine tied to profit. Let's value the individual enough to take the price tag off.

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