The Selling of Sickness

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by Juliette Fallow

money pillsHave you ever wondered why medical care costs in the US are skyrocketing but people don’t seem to be any healthier? Are you worried how you will afford medical bills if an emergency were to happen?

In recent decades, all of America’s charity hospitals have closed so you can no longer get free healthcare and every time you turn on the television there are commercials advertising a pill for every ill, usually at an inflated price.

The practice of medicine has become increasingly motivated by money rather than patient care and healing, but what has led to this shift?

It may surprise you to learn that the pharmaceutical and medical industry,  are at least in part responsible for this change. They destroyed charity hospitals and they control the pricing of drugs and can charge whatever they like.

This applies to medical procedures too so if you need an operation or a medical device you are entirely at the mercy of whatever the hospital wants to charge you. The system is not regulated so you get zero consumer protection and federal laws have been set up to prevent free market behavior so you can’t get safe and cheaper alternatives. Lots of other countries provide medicines at the fraction of the cost compared with US prices.

Insurance doesn’t always help, either. If someone can’t pay, the cost of their treatment may end up on your bill. If someone can’t pay, the costs are passed on. Medical bills are a large cause of bankruptcy.

For a better healthcare system, visit calculators.org.

–Juliette Fallow is now a writer, but used to work in the finance sector. A period of ill health, during which time she went on sickness leave from her day job, showed her the realities and challenges of getting the healthcare she needed – particularly with regard to using her health insurance policy to do so. Her recovery from illness was slow and she wasn’t able to return back to her high pressured job. She decided to become a writer, and is using her platform partly to highlight the worries and concerns she has about the future of rising healthcare costs, not just for her, but for her young family too. When she isn’t writing about this matter, she also produces articles on financial news and family money matters.

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