End the War Against the Poor - Diverse Health

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End the War Against the Poor


by F. Douglas Stephenson / Special to The Sun

In an age when we are supposed to be a society that cares enough to see that all of us receive the health care that we need, we still have those among us who insist that people with no assets — often homeless and frequently missing meals — are supposed to exercise “personal responsibility” by paying funds that they don’t have as a condition for receiving essential medical care. It is completely irrational and inhumane to have consumer-directed, moral hazard-based policies that erect financial barriers to care for the four-fifths of the Florida and U.S. populations with minimal or modest resources.

As Florida and other states abandon the poor, they have engaged private, for-profit companies to manage Medicaid services. Profit for these private companies depends on spending as little as possible on Medicaid patients. It’s hard to imagine any greater disconnect between public good and private profit: The interest of private health insurance companies lies not in the obvious social good of delivering quality health care for patients, but in having as few as possible treated as cheaply as possible. No better example exists of a private-profit enterprise that feeds on the misery and ill-health of man, trying as hard as it can to be sure that nothing is done to decrease that misery while demanding further payment to secure a profitable bottom line.

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