Amid a worsening gain access to and cost crisis in the United States healthcare system, which Washington continues to actively reject because the medical commercial complex pays them to look the other way, Vice President Joe Biden is expected to declare a national emergency due to the COVID pandemic later today.
The AFL-CIO may not have the guts to say it, but health care is the most pressing labour issue of our time, and American politics has been so badly damaged by corporations that the Supreme Court, Congress, and the White House are all slaves to those interests to varying degrees, which is why the discussion surrounding 2024 is being directed AWAY from health care.
Broadcast and cable TV are dominated by commercials for big pharma and Medicare Advantage, leaving little room for this real-world fact to get through.
In an interview with Work-Bites, New York State Senator Jessica Ramos, D, who chairs the Senate’s Labour Committee, stated her commitment to passing the single payer New York Health Act because it “would definitely leave a lot more cash on the bargaining table for incomes.”
Since “we continue to believe we are going to have a system that is commodifying health care when it’s not a product at all,” but a human right, “healthcare is becoming significantly more expensive,” Ramos said. What we’ve learned from the epidemic is that it’s more important than ever that the sneezing, coughing person sitting next to us on the bus has easy access to a doctor when they need one.
While New York City was the epicentre of the COVID pandemic in its initial wave, the state of New York has placed 15th in mortality rates in the United States with 77,500 COVID deaths as of March. This equates to 397 deaths per 100,000 residents. A market analysis conducted in December revealed that the healthcare facility industry in the state was equally affected by personnel shortages and significant financial barriers.
As the federal government hurtles towards the financial obligation ceiling cliff, the current budget plan out of Albany is unlikely to do anything to address either of these issues.
According to DC 37 Locals 2507 and 3621, which represent that workforce, the city’s FDNY EMS, whose duty it is to respond to such situations, is woefully understaffed, even as the tabloids include an update on the dreadful death of a mentally disturbed homeless male on the train at the hands of a civilian who felt he needed to suppress him.
Things are NOT well in America, whatever what is spoken from the White House Rose Garden, whether it is the wave of mass shootings, suicides, drug overdoses, or the mental health catastrophe playing out for the growing ranks of the undomiciled. Inadequate access to health care is the common thread linking a wide range of serious problems.
There is no better indicator of a health care system’s success or failure than average lifespan, and the national public health control panel is flashing warnings ahead.
THIS S– T IS KILLING United States
A 0.9-year loss in life expectancy in 2021, on top of a 1.8-year drop in 2020, was reported by the CDC in August as “the greatest two-year decrease in life span since 1921-1923.”
Health care workers, first responders, transportation workers, and other crucial employees likely lost tens of thousands of lives due to direct exposure in the workplace as President Biden tries to divert attention away from the pandemic’s devastations.
We have not yet fully comprehended the enormity of this once-in-a-century mass mortality event, which has killed roughly twice as many Americans as the so-called Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently reported that in 2020 the COVID death toll caused life span to drop from 82.6 years in 2019 to 78 years in 2020, a drop of more than 4 and a half years in a city that once took great pride in its increasing life span.
New York City last experienced a “seismic” jolt of such magnitude in 1834, when it “was simply broadening its very first railway line,” as reported by the New York Times. The one cent press was doing really well. The cholera epidemic was real. And the smallpox epidemic was back.
According to new data released by the city’s health department on Friday, “it would be almost 200 years before another shock that seismic,” when the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 caused the death rate in New York City to once again climb up about 50 percent over the previous year.
The United States only accounts for 4% of the global population, yet it suffered 12% of the global COVID fatalities. Let’s call it the income premium our culture pays for the most expensive health care system in the world, whose effects include the highest rates of unexpected mortality and the lowest life expectancy.
Which discrepancy between these two numbers is associated with the unique role that predatory commercialism plays in our health care system, which is supported by deficit, since it is deficit that generates the profane profits for big pharma, the medical insurance industry, and Wall Street, which largely dictates policy in this area?
The American response to the epidemic was characterised by a lack of resources including as masks, testing, hospital beds, and personnel. Health care personnel is critically short across the country, including within the CDC complex, where many key roles are unoccupied even while Vice President Biden immorally declares that the once-in-a-century public health catastrophe is ended.
Americans will never get a raise as long as we insist on having health insurance tied to employment, despite the fact that our average life expectancy is falling. In addition to the tens of thousands of lives lost annually to preventable causes, the lack of universal health care and access leaves us all vulnerable to the spread of yet another deadly infectious disease.
Congress has thus far been opposed to conducting an objective, post-event evaluation of the healthcare system’s response to the epidemic, which is ironic given that the unique role of profiteering in the American healthcare system is what makes the United States such a terrible outlier among other affluent countries.
RECOVERY United States
Recovering America, a new documentary directed by Kenny Ballentine and narrated by Susan Sarandon, makes this argument exceptionally well. In the wake of real-life American tragedies like the suicide of 23-year-old Danny Desnoyers, whose life-saving prescription was denied because he couldn’t afford the $20 monthly exceptional payment on his Medicaid health insurance, the film follows the organic growth of the Red Beret, Medicare for All movement.
Health care facilities, medical offices, emergency rooms, and retirement homes have all been acquired by private equity firms, as documented by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner in their seminal study, How Private Equity Runs and Wrecks America.
As an illustration, they study how private equity firms have acquired retirement communities. Kirkus notes in their review that “equity ownership correlates to a far greater death rate, more sees to emergency clinic, and increased Medicare expenses” in such circumstances. Even during the height of the coronavirus epidemic, private equity had sucked up significant sectors of the healthcare industry, leading to the layoff of medical personnel and the elimination of essential services. The authors add that “private owners went to great lengths to use the least expensive ventilators for Covid-19 patients in critical care, which ultimately resulted in a federal fine of $40.5 million, a portion of what they made.”
Onward with Kirkus. “As Morgenson and Rosner show, the pirates are flourishing; whereas there were only three ‘debt-fueled billionaires’ in 2005, there will be 22 by 2020. Much of this wealth is the result of conflicts of interest brought about by the owners’ involvement in the healthcare industry as providers or as insurers.
It is possible to cause a certain level of willful loss of sight on either end of Pennsylvania Avenue when the rate is right, as evidenced by the tens of millions of dollars in project contributions invested by the crypto currency market, even as banks connected to it collapse and taxpayers are left holding the bag.
THE ROBBER BARONS HAVE RETURNED
Even before the epidemic, income inequality and concentration in the United States had reached levels not seen since the Gilded Age of the Robber Barons. The health care of the baby boom generation is now up for grabs, with companies like Aetna using Medicare Advantage to openly steal from Medicare.
Life expectancy data collected in the United States before the epidemic indicated disturbing indicators of racial and economic differences that only became more pronounced during the outbreak.
“Members of racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to use preventative health services and are more likely to receive subpar treatment than whites. They also had lower health outcomes for some illnesses, according to an article by Martha Hostetter and Sarah Klein for the Commonwealth Fund in September 2018.
In April 2022, researchers Steven Woolf, Ryan Masters, and Laudan Aron revealed in JAMA how the first wave of COVID affected life expectancy in the United States compared to 21 other high-income nations in 2019 and 2020.
Life expectancy estimates based on the most important causes of death revealed a 1.87-year decline in the United States as a whole, 3.70-year decline in Hispanic populations, and a 3.22-year decline in non-Hispanic Black people, the researchers observed. Life expectancy fell by an average of 0.58 years among comparable countries, while the United States had the largest drop (1.1 years).
“The large and extremely racialized reductions in United States life span highlight the growing United States health downside relative to peer nations and the requirement for policies that focus on health and equity,” wrote Woolf, Masters, and Aron.
IN A NEW YORK STATE OF MADNESS
Kaiser Family Foundation predicts that the federal government’s decision to reduce funding for pandemic preparedness will have a negative impact on New York’s already low ranking (20th) in health care quality, access (11th), and cost (33rd).
“about 20 million persons enrolled in Medicaid between February 2020 and March 2023,” KFF said, “leading to declines in the uninsured rate, which plummeted to the lowest affordable level on record in early 2022). We estimate, based on a recent KFF study, that 17 million people could lose Medicaid coverage as a result of states relaxing the constant registration arrangement. This includes people who are no longer eligible for Medicaid as well as those who are eligible but face administrative barriers when trying to renew their coverage. If Medicaid enrollment drops, recent achievements in health coverage expansion might be lost.
Health care union leader George Grisham wrote to legislators in Albany to warn that Gov. Hochul’s health care budget plan as authorised was “a significant error that will have considerable effects for the safety-net health centres and other Medicaid-reliant suppliers.”
Grisham criticised Hochul for failing to address the issue in budget settlements and proposing “ravaging cuts.” He believed that Medicaid rates “far listed below the expense of care” proposed in the state budget plan would lead to the closure of clinics, the loss of jobs, and the “restriction of services in underserved neighbourhoods.”
For “warding off the truly oppressive cuts consisted of in the Governor’s preliminary proposition,” 1199SEIU’s head praised Speaker Carl Heastie and Majority head Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
The New York State Health Care Association stated in December that “as a result of scenarios beyond their control, medical facilities across the state require immediate assistance to sustain their services.” New Yorkers are losing access to health care services due to rising care shipment costs and persistent labour force shortages, according to a study conducted in the autumn of 2022 by the state and allied local medical facility associations in New York, and businesses expect access to medical services to continue deteriorating.
One hundred percent of the state’s medical institutions reported nurse shortages they might not be able to fill, and seventy-five percent reported not being able to fill key radiology/medical imaging functions, laboratory employees, respiratory therapists, doctors, and ecological services workers, compounding their financial woes.
According to the New York State Health Care Association, 49% of the state’s healthcare facilities have “reduced and/or eliminated services to reduce staffing difficulties while ensuring their most critical services stay offered,” while 77% have “delayed or cancelled structure and enhancement jobs as a result of financial obstacles,” both of which reduce the availability of health care services.
Twenty-seven percent of the health centres questioned reported “being at threat of defaulting on existing loans, which can reduce funds offered for client care,” according to the findings of the NYS Health treatment Association.
Although the United States has declared the COVID emergency to be over, about 160 people a day continue to die from the communicable disease. According to a UCR paper published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, an estimated 183,000 deaths in the United States in 2019 were directly related to hardship, but this data point seems destined to become just another number that our country’s leadership ignores.
The study found that only heart disease, cancer, and cigarette smoking were linked to more fatalities than poverty. David Danelski of UC Riverside wrote that “hardship” was a greater killer than “obesity, diabetes, drug overdoses, suicides, guns, and murders.”
Danelski keeps going. “Another finding is that people living in poverty, defined as having incomes of less than 50 percent of the U.S. average income, have similar survival rates to the general population up until they reach their 40s, and then die at much higher rates than those with more sufficient earnings and resources.”
“Poverty eliminates as much as dementia, mishaps, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes,” David Brady, the study’s principal author and a professor of public law at UCR, told Danelski. Ten times as many people died in 2019 due to poverty than were murdered. Yet murder weapons and suicide are given far more coverage. If life were easier, everyone’s health would improve, more people would go to work, and they’d be more productive. Those are the benefits of social policy that “buy” people.