Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Associated Press: Jobs said little about pancreatic cancer struggle

The Associated Press: Jobs said little about pancreatic cancer struggle:

One quarter to one half of us in the U. S. would have been dead for seven years.

We have the best medical care in the world. We have enough medical care to treat every one of us. We have the means to give each of us the same chance as Steve Jobs to beat even a disease like pancreatic cancer, or at least survive for seven years as he did.

Yet, the for-profit, corporate, employer-based health care system we have in the United States denies this to many of us.

Efforts for over a century to right this wrong have failed because powerful and wealthy interests own politicians, buy elections, write legislation, and redistribute the wealth of the nation, that of the middle class, to a rich and powerful few at the top. When a health care system ceases to be run simply for the health of its customers and is gamed to provide funds to be invested in global markets to enrich the C-Level executives, board members, and institutional investors, such a system is broken. Fixes aren't easy, but concepts for fixes are simple.

Single payer, not-for-profit systems work well in the rest of the civilized world. For every complaint you hear in the UK, for example, about waiting months for a hip replacement, you can hear a million stories of immediate and effective treatment being given for diseases such as pancreatic cancer. Systems such as this pay caregivers well, generally provide fast, effective treatment, and cost far less than our current broken U. S. system.

Sure, we wish that each of us, down to the poorest, made enough money that we could pay retail rates for any medical care necessary, but employers are not willing to forgo the small portion of their profit necessary for this. Sure, we wish that medical insurance was affordable to each, but insurance companies insist on using consumers as an endless supply of funds to invest in global markets, with the proceeds going to the wealthy few at the top and certainly not back down to compensate their lowest-paid worker or improve service.

The free market is not free. It has failed millions of us, and only serves to keep the Steve Jobs' of the world confident that they can live each day as if it were their last. Jobs was an intelligent and driven guy who thought up great things, envisioned neat devices, and started companies that employed many. We need to un-game the market, so the best medical care is truly available to all of us, and opportunity is available to the next Steve Jobs.

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