Why Health Care is Organized Crime

The real reason why health care reform has stalled is because too many people are getting rich.

Getty Images

She had been ignoring signs of cancer for months. A relative of mine (I’ll call her “Mary”) had no health insurance. Self-employed, she made too much money to qualify for public health programs for the poor, but she did not make enough money to pay for private insurance.

When debilitating pain rendered her unable to work, she finally consulted a well-regarded private surgeon. The diagnosis: She had eight months to live if she did not have a cancerous organ removed. To schedule the surgery, the doctor needed $8,000 in cash. Upfront.

Two months later, the doctor’s office called to follow up. “Have you decided what you’re going to do?” the billing office asked.

Mary rolled her eyes.

Yes, she had decided what she was going to do. For her and many Americans without health insurance, that meant driving to the nearest emergency room where, by law, patients can’t be turned away. It meant holding her ground against doctors who tried to send her home, until one finally agreed to perform the surgery.

The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.