- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Capitalism and Medicine

Posted by: R Rockliff on September 09, 1999 at 00:45:39:

In Reply to: Socialism and health care posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on September 07, 1999 at 22:09:09:

The logic of capitalistic medicine is perfectly clear and predictable: a lot of money, a lot of care; a little money, a little care; no money, no care. All medical statistics, from infant mortality to life expectancy, point to one obvious undeniable fact: the more money one has, the better health care one receives. There is no reason why this fact should be so dismaying to capitalists, or that they should feel a need to deny it at all costs. That is the way capitalism works in every other area of life: the rich can afford finer food, finer clothing, better automobiles, bigger houses, and better educations. If there is a price tag on health care (and there is), then those with more money can buy more and better health care. But, capitalistic health care goes beyond the simple reality of the rich having more access to better care than the poor do.

When medical care is one more commodity bought and sold in the capitalist market, then strange and brutal situations begin to arise. The extravagance of the rich can drive up the cost of care for everybody, which is of no concern to those who can afford it, but is disastrous to those who cannot. There are a finite amount of medical resources, and the rich can, through the unethical use of their money, cause these resources to be cruelly and unjustly allocated. The child of a poor family suffers and dies for want of medically necessary treatment, while a rich middle-aged woman has fat vacuumed from her buttocks.

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