Set Up for Failure 12/20/22

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

The typical American citizen is set up to fail. Financial institutions and mega millionaires’ prey on the poor and struggling. In one city of which I am familiar, a large and surprisingly powerful hospital considering its age has been erected by one such mega millionaire, which on its surface seems like a charitable and nice thing to do. Unfortunately, he became a mega millionaire by running one of the “we’ll cash your paychecks” services for people who cannot get bank accounts because of financial problems that charges enormous fees taking a significant chunk of much-needed money away from those who are forced to use the service. To make matters worse, just before building it he was facing a messy divorce, so it seems as though the hospital was built so he didn’t have to share his wealth with his soon-to-be ex-wife. He didn’t build the hospital, those who could not afford to even use it now did, and it wasn’t an act of philanthropy, but rather an act of spite.

A friend of mine has been working very hard to better herself. Just a few days ago, she reached a major milestone in completing her undergraduate degree in the most difficult of circumstances. Unfortunately, it was in psychology where a bachelor’s degree is not enough to actually work in the field. But she has been accepted to graduate school. Unfortunately, she also has a child that needs constant medical attention, which is heartbreaking because her daughter is just the sweetest girl. Today, the forces against her hit hard financially, and her future in graduate school may be lost.

Let’s think about this for a moment. She is living in a state that is Republican controlled, and thankfully the state had opted out of the AHCA (a.k.a. “Obamacare”), so thanks to these concerned lawmakers, my friend has no insurance because she simply cannot afford it thanks to her daughter’s preexisting condition. Add a check mark in the box for “insurance corporation greed”. While I understand that insurance companies must make a profit to stay in business, it seems as if their bid to do so is driven by the desire to make and keep as much money as possible for the administrators and stockholders. Every day, private insurance rates seem to go up, out-of-pocket expenses seem to increase, and denial of treatment seems to increase. All from the people who are supposed to care and help.

Her medical costs of course are out of control. It’s not her fault that she has a struggling family member, and yet she is forced to pay exorbitant medical bills out-of-pocket. In the most advanced nation in the world, we have turned our medical industry into a for-profit organization, yielding the highest medical expenses for medical services that are no longer the best in the world. And while our beloved Republican representatives in Congress are fighting so hard to dismantle the AHCA to be sure that everybody does contribute what they can and are insured, they’ve yet to fulfill their promise to come up with a better plan to replace it. This leaves the rest of us, the citizens, in the lurch. Those who cannot afford insurance have no safety net, and those who can are paying more to cover the losses by those who have no insurance at all.

When I went to graduate school, it was better than free. They paid me to go to grad school, and in return I was expected to teach and perform research for my adviser, and although I didn’t make a lot of money, it was enough to survive. But not anymore. Now graduate school is for-profit and charges students while still requiring them to do research for their adviser, all while wrestling with high-interest loans accumulated over their previous four or five (or more) years in obtaining their bachelor’s degree. When I went to college, it was far less expensive, and loans were very low interest because education was considered to be an investment in the future of America. But today, the educational institutions have been made into a for-profit industry by banks who want to feed on those trying to better themselves. Tuition has far outpaced inflation, and fees have been added that never before existed. When I was in graduate school, I even had to pay a fee for the gym whether or not I had time to use it.

There’s no point to this post. I have no answers. I’m just truly disgusted by where we are at, but these problems have been building for decades and cannot, and will not, be solved overnight. But it is time to open our eyes because we are the ones responsible for voting those responsible for this state of affairs into office. We insist on voting for the party of our parents, and never really look at what politicians are doing. We have lost power, and continue to do so, by our own votes. Until we wake up, that will never change.

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