Healthcare: Going broke to pay your bills

Healthcare: Going broke to pay your bills

Food, water, and medicines are a few necessities without which human life is almost impossible to maintain. In a world infested with disease, where garbage is piled on every second street corner, it is becoming increasingly hard to sustain an existence without medicines. Yet, where food and water are subsidised, nationalised, and available to the masses at cheap rates, prices of medicine and healthcare are skyrocketing. At a rudimentary level, let us try to understand how we ended up here.

 

One of the many countries adversely impacted by these extortionate prices is the United States. For years, people have been told that high prices are necessary to incentivise pharma companies to develop new and improved drugs. The moral shortcomings in this way of thinking are hard to ignore. Medicine that saves lives often requires people to take out second mortgages. There are people, even in the First World, who die because they can’t afford certain procedures and drugs. In an industry designed to save people, we find that monetary incentives are  prioritised over actual human lives. 

 

In the US, propaganda fuelled aversion to any form of Socialism has meant that people are willing to make this compromise. As a result, the United States is at the apex of the global hierarchy and yet, cannot provide its citizens with affordable health care. Instead, pharmaceutical companies spend massive sums to avoid culpability for these deaths. They lobby with politicians, buy out media houses, and in the process,  withhold the truth from the people. In a way, they get away with murder.

 

So, how do we reconcile this? Northeastern University Professor, Eric D. Kupferberg authored a book with the fundamental premise that stakeholders had to collaborate to solve the healthcare crisis. Often, insurers and physicians play the blame game and try to absolve themselves of responsibility for high medical costs. Therefore, in an America that will fight off socialism till its last breath, an instant and immediate compromise is needed to save lives. As difficult as it may be, Prof. Kupferberg’s idea is one of the few that might work.  Collaboration between competing stakeholders is the need of the hour. At this stage, it might be the only hope we have to create a sustainable, affordable and consumer-driven medical system. 

 

Aryaman Sood

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Aryaman Sood

aryaman.sood_ug21@ashoka.edu.in

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