Health Care is a Cheat on America’s Economy
I recently ran into one of my former co-workers from International Paper Co. We began talking about the company, I told her International Paper saved my sanity and life. When I moved back to Natchez from New Orleans, in 1982, I worked jobs without health care or benefits. Separated, a mother of two we had no health care. Even though a USAFR veteran, only full-time service vets are qualified to use veteran services. For a while, my kids were on Medicaid, but I didn’t qualify, The Charity hospital closed in 1984. International Paper gave me a great job with living wages, benefits, health care, retirement, stock shares, and a 401K. International Paper, John Manville, Armstrong Rubber, Diamond National, and other companies here saved so many with high school educations from impoverished lives. These are the types of jobs that Made America Great and Natchez flourish, folk appreciated getting up and going to work. Sadly, now our town depends heavily on tourism, dollar store jobs, a few city/county jobs, and education. Our state has no Medicaid, and a returning governor who could vote for Medicaid expansion, but votes thumbs down on the issue while rural hospitals are closing and citizens driving hundreds of miles for health care.
The Bureau of Statistics reported Leisure and Hospitality jobs had the highest job growth in 2022, an abundance of jobs with no benefits only accelerating poverty levels.1 Can Mississippi be Great, paying low wages, no benefits, blue-collar jobs, and hours that don’t qualify employees for fringe benefits or bonuses? Where is the care for these Americans, especially for those espousing “Make America Great”, when other countries have free access to health care?
Politicians have been espousing “Make America Great Again” for quite some time while sending manufacturing jobs overseas. Benefits such as health care are gone due to massive Globalization Acts (NAFTA/CAFTA) making the rich richer, and the poor poorer. Seems we now have the drawbacks of Mercantilism again with China the victor, assisting in the loss of good jobs here in America. This system we have in America today does not support or stabilize our Social Security System or Medicare Structure, (FICA) tax base due to massive import dumping from China. The dollars coming out of your check, you may complain about but are great when you retire, you’d be hard-pressed to say you didn’t want that monthly Social Security check. The US began to borrow from other countries as our tax and Social Security base weakened, due to corporate greed, leading to a failed economy. Good jobs with benefits gone. You can’t get blood from a turnip.
To my knowledge, the State of Mississippi no longer has any Charity Hospitals. The Natchez City Hospital was originally Fort McPherson, in 1890, later becoming the Natchez Charity Hospital, closing in 1982. The Charity Hospital here was the oldest in the State of Mississippi before destroyed by fire in 1984. The Charity Hospital here and in Vicksburg were revitalized in 1934 during the New Deal’s FERA program, (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) keeping them in good standing to help those without insurance. Charity Hospital here in Natchez was certified (Insane Ready) as the focus on mental illness became more prevalent. These Charity Hospitals would be the last affordable, possibly free health care for low-wage and indigent citizens in SW Mississippi. We have no such hospital provisions now.
According to US News, Mississippi ranks 50th in Health Care Access, Health Care Quality, and Public Health, sucks to be last and sick in Mississippi. You can still go to the emergency room, but with no health care, how do you follow up? Most cities have Low-income clinics, what happens though if your issue needs further testing, the diagnosis is serious. Most fall by the wayside, Politicians vote on items in Congress hoping to go home without discussing real solutions for health care, What hope is there?
Mississippi has (No Medicaid, Large Hospital Closures Coming (and no Charity Hospitals), and most legislatures could care less. Legislative members are sitting pretty with their great health care and retirement plans. Don’t they realize their extended families are affected? There is no health care for low-wage workers in dollar stores, restaurants, grocery, and retail stores. Employees are denied more than 28 hours a week by large retailers to avoid fringe benefits, (education assistance, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, medical, dental, life, disability insurance, retirement contributions, stock options) creating massive profits for their stockholders. Employees go home at night with no health care, destitute, bone tired, or head to another job, and then they’re criticized, the folk saying, “They need to go back to Work”. Is this another form of enslavement, indentured servants? In a lot of cases, these individuals have college degrees, but we have an economy that sends even customer service phone jobs overseas.
Our hospitals are owned by stockholders profiting from medical/medicine costs, ruining your credit once you leave the emergency rooms. Big Pharma greases the palms of politicians, forbidding drugs from countries like Canada because the prices of certain medicines are affordable. Here in America, if you don’t have Medicaid/healthcare or private insurance, a bottle of insulin can cost over $200 while in most other countries costing around $20. Let’s not talk about the EpiPen, formerly $100 for two pens, its cost was increased to $608 just because the company could. Plaintiffs won millions suing the Pfizer company in 2022. In the lawsuit, it was stated “Unaccountable executives and companies sought to profit on human misery and fear”.
Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
You see, some of the very politicians that say they care for you/our country, don’t. Do they try to stop price gouging on medicine or provide affordable healthcare, no. There is no reason you shouldn’t know how your candidates stand with smartphones and tablets. After you watch your favorite shows and some nightly news, research your candidates. Are they voting for constituents, the party, along color-coded lines, or just simply not in Congress when important bills are in the referendum, so they can say, “I didn’t vote against that”? The people of this country are its greatest asset, how we care for our people Makes America Great. Let’s take care of our uninsured, we did it before, we can do it again. Contact your congressman, and tell them to expand Medicaid. Let me give you one more tip, leave as much on the shelves from China as you can, it’ll be hard, and you may even save some money. Why should we buy everything we use and need from other countries crippling our economy, health care, and our sanity.
Many countries offer free or universal healthcare. Here are some of them:
- European countries like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland1.
- Other countries include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom2.
- Some countries like Brazil offer free healthcare to any individual within the state’s jurisdiction, including tourists, passengers in transit, and refugees3.
- In Africa, countries like Algeria and Botswana operate a public healthcare system3.
Please note that the specifics of what is covered under “free” or “universal” healthcare can vary greatly from country to country. It’s always a good idea to research the specific healthcare policies of a country if you plan to live or travel there.
- Mississippi Rankings | US News Best States
- Countries with Free Healthcare – Comprehensive List (2024) (visitvisaguide.com)
- List of countries with universal health care – Wikipedia
Insane hospital ready on Jan. 1. (Sep 11, 1934). Clarion-Ledger, p. 1.
Submitted By: Lavader Hill contributing writer