Health care in the United States
aspect of American society
- Physicians’ and pharmacists’ first and foremost ethical obligation in situations of epidemic, disaster or terrorism is to provide urgent medical care and ensure availability and appropriate use of necessary medications. This requires close coordination with the entire health care team to help ensure patients receive the testing, treatments, follow-up care and medications they need. We applaud the innumerable selfless acts by health care professionals across the nation who are putting themselves in harm’s way to provide care to America’s patients.
- It doesn’t say rest on your laurels, but to keep on pushing. In this work, sometimes you get heavy criticism. People do say ugly things, ‘You just want money.’ I just want other people to have health care. You know, Jesus healed everybody and never charged a co-pay.
- With its broad sweep, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us into an unprecedented national emergency. This emergency, however, results from a deeper and much longer term crisis — that of poverty and inequality, and of a society that ignores the needs of 140 million people who are poor or a $400 emergency away from being poor. [...] We cannot return to normal. Addressing the depth of the crises that have been revealed in this pandemic means enacting universal health care. [...] Before COVID-19, nearly 700 people died everyday because of poverty and inequality in this country. The frontlines of this pandemic will be the poor and dispossessed - those who do not have access to healthcare [...] - and those who are continuing to work in this crisis, meeting our health care and other needs. It should not have taken a pandemic to raise these resources. In June 2019, we presented a Poor People’s Moral Budget to the House Budget Committee, showing that we can meet these needs for this entire country. If you had taken up this Moral Budget, we would have already moved towards infusing more than $1.2 trillion into the economy to invest in health care, good jobs, living wages, housing, water and sanitation services and more. This is not the time for trickle-down solutions. We know that when you lift from the bottom, everybody rises. There are concrete solutions to this immediate crisis and the longer term illnesses we have been battling for months, years and decades before. We will continue to organize and build power until you meet these demands. Many millions of us have been hurting for far too long. We will not be silent anymore.
- William Barber II and Liz Theoharis, letter to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Members of the 116th Congress, Poverty Amidst Pandemic: A Moral Response to COVID-19 (March 19, 2020), Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival.
- While the virus itself does not discriminate, it is the poor and disenfranchised who will experience the most suffering and death. They’re the ones who are least likely to have health care. [...] We need health care to be understood as a human right for all of us.
- When Susan Finley developed flu-like symptoms, she didn’t go to the doctor because she was frightened about the cost. Finley’s grandparents later found her dead in her apartment. She was 53. Finley did not die as a result of Covid-19. She died in 2016 as a result of America’s healthcare system – a system that led her to avoid treatment for the common flu in order to avoid debt. It is that same system that is currently creaking under the pressure of a pandemic that experts warned was coming but governments failed to prepare for. It is a system that does not qualify for the term “developed”. [...] There are 2.9 hospital beds for every 1,000 people in the United States. That’s fewer than Turkmenistan (7.4 beds per 1,000), Mongolia (7.0), Argentina (5.0) and Libya (3.7). In fact, the US ranks 69th out of 182 countries analyzed by the World Health Organization. This lack of hospital beds is forcing doctors across the country to ration care under Covid-19, pushing up the number of preventable deaths. America’s numbers are similarly unimpressive when it comes to medical doctors. The United States has 2.6 doctors per 1,000 people, placing it behind Trinidad & Tobago (2.7), and Russia (4.0 doctors per 1,000, for a country that is described as being “in transition”). Life expectancies at birth are lower in the US than they are in Chile or China. The US has a higher maternal mortality rate than Iran or Saudi Arabia.
- The facts are as exhaustive as they are exhausting. There’s one simple conclusion from all of this. We’ve been tricked. We’ve been told that America, like most other majority-white countries, deserves the title “developed economy”. It does not. You cannot charge a woman $39.95 to hold the baby that she has just given birth to. You cannot constantly operate hospitals at close to capacity in order to maximize profits. The pursuit of private money in systems built for public good has not worked ethically or practically.
- I don't think I know enough to say, well, here's the plan. It's not my specialty.... But I don't think there's any way not to have that debate about how much we're going to spend on health care.... In finding our way forward, we've got to be able to find ways to deliver the quality care that everyone expects and that we're capable of providing to the maximum number of people.
- Dick Cheney, "The Weekend Interview: The Story of Dick Cheney's Heart", The Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2011.
- The U.S.'s privatized for-profit health care system had long been an international scandal, with twice the per capita expenses of other developed societies and some of the worst outcomes. Neoliberal doctrine struck another blow, introducing business measures of efficiency: just-on-time service with no fat in the system. Any disruption and the system collapses. This is the world that Trump inherited, the target of his battering ram.
- Noam Chomsky, in an interview with C.J. Polychroniou, Chomsky: Ventilator Shortage Exposes the Cruelty of Neoliberal Capitalism (April 1, 2020), Truthout
- Sarah Kliff spent the last year looking at over 1000 ER bills and has found outrageous facility fees, high costs for OTC drugs, and charges for simply sitting in the waiting room. Medicare for All would take these excess costs out of the equation...
- Our demand for Medicare for All must be stronger than Big Pharma lobbyists.
- Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Speech to the Second National Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights – Chicago (25 March 1966), as quoted in Dan Munro, "America's Forgotten Civil Right - Healthcare", Forbes (28 August 2013). See also: Amanda Moore, "Tracking Down Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Words on Health Care", Huffington Post (18 August 2013)
- Criticism should not be focused on Nazi Germany alone but extend beyond to include physicians in democratic countries, as well. Physicians outside Germany before the war, in the United States in particular were well aware of the evolving racist thrust of the health care system. They chose to remain silent.
- William E. Seidelman (1992). Quoted in, The War Against Children of Color: Psychiatry Targets Inner-City Youth (1998), Peter R. Breggin, M.D., Common Courage Press, Monroe, Maine, ISBN 1567511279 ISBN 1567511260 ( 2002 ed., ISBN 1567511260 ISBN 9781567511260 ch. 7, Condemned by Science: The Role of Psychiatry in the Holocaust, p. 124.