The American Health Care System is Despicable

Just how despicable is the U.S. health care system?  Although the U.S. spends over $8000 per capita and 18% of GDP on health care – more than any other country – at least 50 million Americans are uninsured.  According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), countries such as Japan, Sweden, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and England generally spend half as much per capita and as a percentage of GDP  while providing health care access to all of their citizens.

So who pays and who benefits from  the bloated, corrupt, immoral U.S. health care system?

Here is a list of who pays: (1) all wage & salary earners who pay a 1.5% tax on everything they earn, (2) the U.S. government, i.e. taxpayers in general, which transfers the 1.5% tax and hundreds of billions more to the medical-industrial complex, (3) businesses offering health insurance to their employees, (4) employees lucky enough to have employers provided health insurance, i.e., premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, (5) Medicare beneficiaries forced to pay large premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, and (6) uninsured patients and consumers stuck medical bills that often drive them into bankruptcy.

Here is a list of who benefits from the massive wealth transfer through health care gouging: (1) for profit hospital chains, (2) nursing home chains, (3) pharmaceutical companies, (4) medical device manufacturers, (5) corporate owned physician practices, (6) insurance companies, and (7) senator and congresspersons who receive untold millions in political contributions from the medical-industrial complex.

The American Medical Association Has Played a Major Role in Shaping the Shameful U.S. Health Care System

The Occupy Wall Street Movement needs to turn some of its attention toward Occupy the American Medical Association.

Amongst political groups fighting to block humane and decent health care, the American Medical Association – the association representing healers of sick people – has  been one of the most effective and potent forces throughout the past century.  It is hard to understand how an organization representing physicians, who have taken an oath to heal, could fight universal health care and, by virtue of that fight, insure that tens of millions of U.S. citizens will suffer and often die due to medical neglect.

Who are the 50 million uninsured Americans resulting from AMA efforts?  A couple of years ago, I spent two days volunteering at a free clinic sponsored by the National Association of Free Clinics at Bartle Hall.  I met some of the 50 million medically neglected people in our country.  By the thousands, they streamed through the convention center – humbly, thankfully, without rancor and resentment.  They came for help with complications of diabetes, hypertension, abscesses, tumors, and generally the full array of ailments needing medical attention.

The AMA and the politicians they pay off to perpetuate the current national health care embarassment should have spent a couple of days at Bartle Hall looking the uninsured in their eyes and explaining why they scream socialism and extol the virtues of an unbrided free market health care system that has failed our country so miserably.  Perhaps this representative of doctors could come forth and explain how its fight for a cruel health care system is compatible with medical ethics.

Who are the Politicians Raking in AMA Dough and Other Medical-Industrial Complex Pay Offs?  Let’s Take a Look at One Democrat on the Undemocratic, Super-Secret, Super-Committee

Democratic congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland is a darling of the medical-industrial complex.  If you check the top contributors to the members of the undemocratic, super-secret, super-committee, you will notice that Van Hollen does best amongst health care industry lobbyists and better amongst that group of givers than other members of the committee.  For instance, the AMA, which donated $22,000 to Van Hollen, ranks 27th in the amount donated out of the nearly 3,000 contributors to the senators and congresspersons.  Van Hollen received more than other members from the AMA and other medical-industrial givers.  Nevertheless, Democratic congressman James Clyburn did very well amongst the this group of givers as well.

According to the Sunlight Foundation, Dr. Jeffrey Drezner, owner of Clinical Care options and a founder member of the CME Coalition (a medical industry front group) held a fund raiser for Van Hollen days after the first meeting of the super committee.  The foundation blog noted that “Drezner sent tens of thousands of dollars to multiple committees associated with Van Hollen from 2007 to 2010, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which Van Hollen led during those years, according to to data from the Center for Responsive Politics” (