In the United States, we pay extra to kill ourselves

Now isn’t this depressing:

The fragmented and inefficient healthcare system in the United States leads to many preventable deaths and unnecessary costs every year. Universal healthcare could have alleviated the mortality caused by a confluence of negative COVID-related factors. Incorporating the demography of the uninsured with age-specific COVID-19 and nonpandemic mortality, we estimated that a single-payer universal healthcare system would have saved 212,000 lives in 2020 alone. We also calculated that US$105.6 billion of medical expenses associated with COVID-19 hospitalization could have been averted by a Medicare for All system.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States

Though most of the country appears to have written off the 1 million+ deaths from COVID-19 as inevitable, this new study demonstrates that many of these people died due to the choices of the ruling class in the United States.

What struck me about this study is that dollar figure: $105.6 billion. That gigantic number is not enough to inspire a transition to single-payer health care, in a country obsessed with making and saving money. Why not? Because the cumulative dollars giant corporations stand to lose were we to abolish our intricate system of insurance, networks and paperwork is greater than the amount we the American people stand to save. This gross imbalance of priorities is the only possible result of a health care system that prioritizes profits above actual health care. Insurance companies and other corporations seek to maximize revenues and minimize expenses, consequences to the people who need care be damned. Don’t expect them to ever give up that golden goose without a fight.

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