Injustices don't always appear unjust until we have seen things from a new lens.
For example, we would be super pumped if we receive a $10k raise at work, the largest of our career. We wouldn't find anything wrong it, until... we find out our co-worker was given a $15k raise for the same job. We quickly go from pumped to pissed.
This article is meant to provide a comparison to expose one of the most outrageous yet quietly accepted injustices in healthcare.
After a sever storm hits, a hurricane, an earthquake, a flood, a tsunami... many interesting things start to happen.
1. An outcry of love and support starts to pour in. People from all walks of life speak out and speak up. We are moved emotionally and for some people that turns into action.
2. The community binds together. We see people helping each other just because they need help. Boats are used to rescue strangers, sandbags walls are erected in hours, neighborhood cleanups are formed, homes are rebuilt.
3. Financial aid is usually distributed. Local governments step up their game, The Ellen Show shows up to give away stuff, millionaires share their good fortune, etc.
4. Raw materials and other resources are provided. Companies send clothes, food, or building materials. People all the way from others states send care packages.
5. People try to cope with losing their stuff. The loss of homes, cars, and even photo albums become lead stories.
6. Storm victims are protected from further undo financial hardship. Laws have been passed, making it illegal for companies to spike the prices of goods and services to levels that aren't considered 'reasonable or fair'. Any attempt to take financial advantage of people during these tragedies is considered price gouging, it's illegal and universally considered to be unethical.
So basically, in the storm region... HomeDepot can't raise the price of plywood to $150 bucks a sheet. Exxon can't raise gas prices to $84 a gallon. And if the storm causes an oil spill and all of your baby ducks are covered in Valvoline, you won't be charge $129 a bottle for your Dawn Soap.
Now ponder this...
After a sever storm hits our individual health/life, like being diagnosed with a chronic disease... many interesting things start to happen.
1. An outcry of love and support starts to pour in. People from all stages of our lives, speak out and speak up. Someone we care about is facing hardship, it's what we do.
2. The community binds together. Neighbors, friends, church groups, and others all do their part to help out.
3. Financial aid is even often distributed. Friends, family, and even strangers give their money to our Go Fund Me pages. Our company holds a raffle. Our friends host yard sales.
4. Raw materials and other resources are provided. Meals are prepared for us, errands are run, kids are watched, and the grass is mowed for us.
5. People try to cope with loss. Sometimes our physical or mental abilities are lost and other times, we lose our life savings as we fight to stay alive.
6. People, who are now 'patients' are often taken full advantage of in their time of crisis. Healthcare companies spike prices to any insanely, ridiculous, greedy level on the goods and services that we need to actually stay alive.
Why is ok for hospitals to charge us $500 for a bag of saline when we are dehydrated, lying in a hospital bed (costs to produce = $1). Or why is it ok for a dad to be charged $629 for a bandaid for his 1yr old daughter, after a 5 minute stop by the ER? This was a bill he couldn't afford and it hurt his credit... another little side effect of a shitty experience. These are minor in comparison to some drug prices. People with Multiple Sclerosis are hit with disease modify drugs that can cost as much $146,000 per year. WTF???
If Exxon can't legally screw us with $84 a gallon gas after a storm damages our home... then why can healthcare screw us on everything from bandaids to life saving medications after a storm (disease) damages our health and life? Why do we stand for it and why have more laws not been passed to stop these companies from from praying on us or our loved ones? They do because they can. Hell, even Walmart is better to their customers than Healthcare is.
In both scenarios, 'human-people' are hit by a life changing event.
In both scenarios, we see amazing stories of generosity, love and community goodness.
But when a natural disaster destroys out homes, people have stood up and said, NO, NO, NO... we will not let you take advantage of them with your price gouging, Exxon!
So WHY, WHY, WHY... is it ok for healthcare companies to charge whatever they damn well please for the goods and services they provide us? These things that might save our lives or take away pain.
70% of the worlds population will be diagnosed with at least one chronic disease in their life. So if that 7/10 time chance happens to you and you are feeling vulnerable with no other options... rest assure that healthcare will pounce on your misfortune but on the upside, your neighbor may bake you a delicious bunt cake.
But in the 1.8% shot that your house is destroyed by a storm and your ducks are covered in oil... sleep easy in knowing that you can buy enough plywood to rebuild your house for about the same price as a bandaid from the Emergency Room.
Healthcare feels free to operate in this way because of this entrenched idea of 'we need what they have'. Alone, we don't have the power or influence to force change. That's why HealthBeMe started The HumanCare Movement... a place, a health experience helping people feel strong, connect, and important. People are deciding to live better by working together.