Health Care Is a Human Right
By Irene and Daniel Reiss
Like millions of older Americans, we both, in our 80s, know what it means to worry about the cost of medical care and the ever-increasing cost of prescription drugs. The idea that insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies have as their purpose to make money from the ill health of people, and feel they can charge whatever makes for larger and larger profits, is outrageous. We quote from a New York Times article, "Driving Up Drug Prices," which shows how far drug manufacturers will go:
Some pharmaceutical companies conspire to keep low-priced drugs out of reach of consumers. Manufacturers of patented drugs are paying tens of millions of dollars to manufacturers of generic drugs if they agree to keep products off the market.The medical care of people can never be just or kind if it is run for profit, which has as its basis contempt for people. Eli Siegel, educator and economist, and founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism, defined contempt as the "addition to self through the lessening of something else." And in a 1968 lecture, one of his many National Ethics Reports, Mr. Siegel so kindly stated:
Nobody should ever have to pay for having his body dealt with....Doctors should do research and be useful to people. The idea of people worried about their health, worrying about money, is barbarous. It is ego-corruption.It is utterly heartbreaking that anyone, let alone an older person in a weakened state, should often be forced to choose between using inadequate finances either for food or medicine.
Every day we read in newspapers and hear on radio and television reports of persons who suffered and even died because HMOs delayed or denied needed health care services--simply because a person's suffering couldn't provide enough profit to satisfy the greed of some people.
When people in government, in business, in health services, honestly answer this question asked by Eli Siegel: "What does a person deserve by being a person?" we will have a health care system based on ethics and good will, rather than on contempt--and Americans of all ages will be healthier and happier!
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