At some point we Americans decided, if only tacitly, that it is okay to profit on the treatment and healing of the sick in our country, and not just a little, but grossly. The reason healthcare costs so much in America is simple: nearly every industry involved in its delivery is raking in the dough. This might not seem so bad if we ignore that the ultimate source of their top-tier prosperity is actual people who were unfortunate enough to get cancer, or some other terrible malady.
Americans have been bread to believe that healthcare is no different from shoes, video games, and bananas, and should therefore be governed by the same forces of market Capitalism, i.e. the quest for profit. A glaring difference, though, is that unlike the later, the healthcare industry caters to a hostage market. The sick or ailing must have what healthcare provides to avoid actual suffering or death, and often, their treatment options are quite limited. That's a lot different than the suffering that comes from not having the latest iPhone, or choosing oranges instead of bananas due to price.
Since this market of infirm is typically desperate for what a hospital, physician, drug company, or machine manufacturer can provide, (often as the sole, patent-protected provider) these providers can charge as much as they like, and they are liking more and more. If you or someone close to you has ever been treated for cancer, then you know that it is financially out of reach without health insurance, and far from cheap even with it. The latest Hep C drug emerged at as high as $94,500 for 12 to 24 pills, all to keep the investor class on the golf courses or on hunting trips with fine scotch in their glasses.
Our healthcare costs will never come down significantly unless and until we say to everyone involved, "you just can't charge that much in the treatment of the sick. It's immoral, and most of them can’t afford it." Fortunately or otherwise, there already exists a democratic entity with the authority to do just that. It’s called the United States government. Only government can regulate the unchecked greed of the richest industries. Capitalism, an engine for which greed and ambition are its rocket fuel, does not self-regulate when it comes to either. To the contrary, Capitalism just burns this fuel faster and faster until it reaches its malignant, or harm-causing state in the society. We are experiencing this now in our current healthcare predicament, and have been long before Obamacare.
Only well-regulated Capitalism can serve the majority without eventually concentrating wealth and power into the hands of a very small minority. The Parker Brothers game Monopoly was invented to show just that. Yet I doubt that America is to be free of Capitalism any sooner that it is the glut of assault rifles across its land. If Capitalism is to be ever pounding at healthcare’s gates, it is perhaps there more than anywhere that we need Federal protections in place that at least guarantee that neither you nor I, nor any fellow American will ever go broke and become strapped with crushing debt because somebody in their family got sick. I think that Canada’s single-payer system of national healthcare for all its citizens from birth to death is a huge step in this direction and worthy of our immediate adoption.
I don't mind anyone making a living in the healing arts, but I have a big problem when they make a killing off the dying.