It’s about health, not health care. The distinction between these viewpoints tells you everything you need to know about the dysfunction of modern life. It illustrates the conceptual divide between the old and what I had hoped was going to be, the “new politics”.
Health care is the system of keeping workers ambulatory enough to go to work most days, where, for the most part, they contribute to the creation of the very conditions that are making them sick. As long as lost productivity plus the lost fecundity of the earth is less than the profits of industry, the cost benefit of raping the planet is indisputable. Of course, the dazzling advancements in technology have enabled us to vastly increase per capita productivity, so we can afford to keep more people sicker, longer, and at greater profit.
It is not easy to maintain this balance. Enormous intellectual power and ingenuity is applied to the invention of new diseases, convincing people they have those diseases and educating medical professionals to treat those diseases. Notice that I use the word “treat”, not “cure”. Curing illness undermines profitability, so it’s an outcome that should only be pursued with caution. Cures should only be effected to the degree necessary to maintain a sufficient level of credibility with the general public. The rule of thumb is that if a condition will heal on its own, offer a cure. Otherwise, don’t mess with the cash flow of a long-term chronic condition. Fortunately, the industry is powerful enough to amass intellectual power for public relations, which relieves the requirement to actually demonstrate medical efficacy.