Pre-existing Condition

(My Scary Dream)

Carl Hendel, M.D.

These may be the two scariest words in our current vocabulary. Our Declaration of Independence declares the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. I am most concerned about the abridgment of the, itself.

"Pre-existing Condition" is a window into a bleak and dangerous future. The maldistribution of morality, ethics, greed, and fear continues to destroy the very fabric of our dream for a homeland in which community supports humanity. The US of A was supposed to be that dream, but things are really crazy when a "pre-existing condition" can create death and destruction that could be modified if (and what a big "if") we, the people, so require.

A "Pre-existing condition" is insurance babble for hedging the bet in favor of the bottom line profits for the the CEO's and the bureaucracies they support. Insurance companies are not there to serve us. They are there to extract our money. We pay them to take financial risk for us, and, just like in Las Vegas, the odds are stacked to support the house. And that's okay to a point. But, in Las Vegas, if the house makes the odds ridiculous, we can pick up our chips and move on. We can't do that with our health insurance. If we have no insurance, our health risks can go up. Many people are unable to pay their doctors or buy expensive medicines they may need to prevent heart attack, stroke, and more. They drop out of the health care system. They suffer, and society also suffers.

I had a scary dream last night. I dreamed that there was a new law that required that a sample of umbilical cord blood be taken from every newborn. This would be a source of social information on every citizen, like fingerprints and a social security number. Insurance companies, allowed to access this material, would determine, through DNA analysis, the likely life-course of each person, which diseases s/he might be prone to, how old s/he would live to be, and more. Based on this sample, and the resulting risk profile development,the insurance companies would only insure those who are guaranteed to return them a profit. All the rest of us would have "pre-existing conditions" ..............from the day we are born!

The truth is that there is plenty of money out there to create universal health care. And it doesn't need to be complicated (simple healthcare plan.) How much medicine could be bought with a fair re-distribution of money?

When will we re-claim our country from the ravages of capitalistic abuse? There is plenty of freedom and wealth to go around. We, and only we, through our involvement at the ballot box, can create a world in which that scary dream couldn't happen. And time matters.