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The Crisis In American Healthcare

The Crisis In American Healthcare And Why We Brits Need To Take Notice!

If you've been able to take a five minute breather from British politics recently, you may have noticed the mess America is in. Obviously I call it a mess, this point of view depends just where you stand on the fence of healthcare being a fundamental human right or a privilege that you earn.

The Republican party are now moving forward with their plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, largely by drafting a bill in near complete secret, with no hearings or consultations. The Republicans are hell bent on ensuring that the richest don't have to pay for anyone else when it comes to healthcare and giving them the massive tax breaks they're always so desperate for. They're also keen that Insurance companies don't need to provide full coverage, so they can make more money too.

Maternity care? Meh, who need it? Let's just go back to giving birth on the floor of a barn and cutting the umbilical cord with our teeth shall we. Unless of course you can earn the thousands of dollars you'll need to give birth in a hospital.

In May, Miss USA fuelled headlines after she stated during the contest that she believed healthcare was a privilege you have to earn. This obviously sparked a furious twitter debate. She's not an uneducated hick either, she's a scientist. The problem is just how this point of view is prevalent in the US. The great tax debate; no one in the US seems to want to pay for anyone other than themselves. 

It's a point of view that many in Britain, having enjoyed years of NHS care, simply can't understand. Including myself. Ask a republican what will happen to those with pre-exiting conditions and they'll babble on about high risk pools. So you may still be able to get some insurance companies to cover you but you will be paying BIG and y'know how Insurance companies work, they'll do everything they can to get out of paying up. 

If you happen to be unlucky and develop a lifelong, complex condition before you start earning the big bucks you are in trouble. As Jimmy Kimmel explained on his late night show earlier in the year. His little boy was born with a heart murmur. Luckily Kimmel is able to pay the medical bills associated but what if they were a very normal working class family who didn't have health insurance to cover a treatable condition like this. Why happens then? Will the child just be left to die? Really? In one of the richest countries in the world? 

If you're one of the millions of Americans unemployed or in a low paid job you probably rely on Medicaid. The cuts current being proposed to Medicaid are nothing short of a scandal. It's estimated that upwards of 23 million Americans could lose access to healthcare. People will literally die due to legislation that is being drafted by 12 wealthy men in secret.

Why should we care? We don't live in America.

Well, we should take notice. The Conservatives hold the same values. If we carry on with a government committed to austerity when it comes to public services, it is inevitable that services will begin to fail. We hear that the NHS is in 'crisis' daily, if not hourly if you read the papers as much as I do and we all know that the Conservatives love selling off public assets to private business. Public services are seriously rich pickings for big business. 

Earlier this year it was reported that Virgin Care is suing the NHS after losing a child services deal in Surrey. They are mad because they lost out on a deal that would have secured them £82m. In other Virgin Care news, they pay no tax, because apparently they don't make a profit... they just do it out of the goodness of their hearts?

Once services fail, it'll be even easier to outsource and sell off the remaining assets.

Treating healthcare as a profit making business and a privilege, not a right is a quick way to ensure that the poorest will begin to lose access to life saving care.

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