It was distressing learning about the recent veto by President Bush of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This is utterly objectionable, particularly at this time when layoffs are increasing in enormous number throughout the country, and more and more Americans are without health insurance, and the number is on the rise.
Recent U.S. Census Bureau figures released in August, show an estimated 47 million Americans, 9.4 million of which are children, were uninsured in 2006, up from 15.3 percent in the previous year. “The uninsured tend to have more chronic illnesses, are more likely to develop complications because they forego routine care, and are treated at public hospitals that are “under intense financial pressure as governments cut back support,” said Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. “The result is that people get sicker, they die earlier, or they end up with disabling conditions that can create problems throughout the remainder of their lives”. According to the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine about 18,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have health coverage. What it comes down to is – profit is made more important than people’s lives; if a person is unable to pay for treatment they are left to die.
We have learned from Aesthetic Realism, the education founded by the great American educator and economist, Eli Siegel, that the profit system is based on contempt for people. He defined contempt as, “the addition to self through the lessening of something else” and showed that it is the basis of our economy, one which sees people not as living, breathing human beings with feelings as real as one’s own, but in terms of how much money can be made from them.
It is a national shame that people in this rich land of ours have to worry about being homeless at a time when they are sick and need care. As a person who lost her job several times, and the health benefits that came with it, I know first hand the terror of getting sick and the worry about whether I’d be able to afford the care I might need. – Rose Levy.
The reason so many people in America are in this inhumane situation is that health care is a field for enormous profit, thriving on people’s illnesses. According to the book Making A Killing: HMOs and the Threat to Your Health, (Common Courage Press, 1999), the authors Jamie Court & Francis Smith describe HMO executives as the highest paid in the country. They write: “Former U.S. Healthcare CEO Leonard Abramson, now on the board of Aetna, made over $990 million when U.S. Healthcare was acquired by Aetna. The merger was valued at nine billion dollars. This means over 10% of the companies’ value ended up in his bank account.” We have to ask – How many sick children are able to get the full care they need with nine hundred million dollars! “Once you are after profit,” writes Ellen Reiss, Class chairman of Aesthetic Realism, “you can’t be too interested in what people deserve. It will cramp your ability to make money from them.” (The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known # 925).
We feel it is utterly barbaric for a few people to line their pockets at the expense of the suffering of others. Getting medical care that can save lives should not depend on whether a company or stockholders can make profit. We feel passionately that every person deserves health care without having to worry about whether or not they will be able to pay for it. As long as profit is the basis of our health care system, it will be inefficient and cruel.
For this to change people everywhere have to ask this kind question, first asked by Eli Siegel: “What does a person deserve by being a person?” When this question is answered honestly, medical care will be seen as a fundamental human right, affordable to any American who needs it.
[Letters to the Editor]
Regarding this Op-Ed piece, purportedly about universal healthcare:
Readers might be interested to know that the writers’ real purpose is to plug their philosophy, Aesthetic Realism. I know this because this group is a cult, and I’m a former member. The members write stories and letters for newspapers across the country, always referring to their founder, Eli Siegel, this time as “the great American educator and economist”, and in other letters and stories as “the great American poet and educator”, “the great American philosopher”, “the great American historian”, and even “the great American poet, critic, and social scientist”. Google shows over 1000 such references:
I put together a site where I and other former members describe what
Aesthetic Realism is really like:
It’s disappointing that these people fake their way onto America’s newspages, simply as an excuse to try to promote their group.