CNN’s Senior health correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen has some tips about healthcare mistakes to avoid if you fear a layoff. Number 1. is avoiding getting every test out there.
Elizabeth quotes Dr. Delia Chiaramonte, a Baltimore patient advocate: “If a mammogram shows a likely cancer, it will be very hard to get insurance in the future,” she says. “If I knew I was going to start another job with insurance in two months, I might hold off on cancer screening until then.”
In a country where coffee has to have a label warning that it may be dangerous to drink, where buses are evacuated because of a missing peanut and slipping on a wet floor can secure your retirement, all because of people getting sued, a national news outlet can include, what would elsewhere be criminally negligent, advice of a qualified Doctor (who has sworn the hippocratic oath), to avoid prudent screening for a life threatening illness, in a list of health tips.
To add insult to potential injury, this advice concerns an illness whose risk has been diminished by recent health education campaigns consisting of well meaning charity runs, sincere TV hosts and pink ribbon wearers everywhere urging you to screen yourself – on places like CNN. But here we have the farcical situation where a professional patient advocate is telling you not to bother on a news outlet that would be careful not to recommend drinking hot coffee in case it got sued.
Ultimately, all of this stems from the incompatibility of healthcare and capitalism, in a country that has an idealogical attachment to the latter. Capitalism is genuinely ideal for things where there is a level playing field and everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive. But unfortunately not everyone is equal when it comes to health, and therefore, in a free market, insurance companies can’t break even from the unlucky people who are already or are likely to be ill.
Something that is becoming apparent in this recession is that until America has universal healthcare, like nearly all other developed countries, it will be a sick place for the sick.