Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sick in the head: Why America won't get the health-care system it needs—By Luke Mitchell (Harper's Magazine)

A must read:

"In the United States today, we can use our belief in numbers, which borders on the religious, to rationalize any amount of inequity. We can tell ourselves that we can’t have a system that guarantees health care to every American because such a system would be “inefficient.” We can tell ourselves that we must accept a world in which children suffering from post-traumatic stress don’t get any help because the numbers don’t support it. We can tell ourselves that we must trust our health to insurance companies, that markets are wiser than doctors, that we can afford every technology. We tell ourselves stories and we rationalize our prejudices, and, unless we are willing to more specifically address the “social determinants of health,” as Dr. Tsou said, we will continue to drift toward a change far more substantive than anything currently under consideration in Congress, a change suited to the few who care to exert their will. It may be a revolutionary system of corporate medical control, or a catastrophic financial collapse resulting from hubristic overtreatment, or a medical crisis stemming from some seemingly minor flaw in the heuristics of the integrated delivery network, or just a further increase in the massive inequities that already disgrace our current system. Whatever that change is, though, it will in the end be defined by the passivity of a people that has sacrificed its own, dem ocratic power of large numbers on the altar of strange and unstated beliefs."

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