art by Kirsten Kramer

Health kill, not care

This is how many people die in the system — when there is no single cause except for general bureaucracy, a front for corruption at multiple levels.

In one of my final interviews before leaving my former job as a POLITICO Florida health correspondent, a physician told me he feared for all the patients who need routine checkups for chronic diseases, now that our country is in the throes of a public health crisis.

Simply put, many many people will die, the doctor told me. They’ll be ignored while it’s all hands on deck for tending to those suffering from coronavirus, a new airborne-ish illness that can be life threatening.

I never once imagined while interviewing him that I could be one such patient. But I am starting to quickly envision how it could work now — me, dying.

It all began when it came time for my first scans since entering remission for stage 2b breast cancer. I was due for them at the beginning of this month but can’t even get a call back now. Then, I publicly discovered I was going through withdrawal from clonazepam, an anti-anxiety medication, which my doctor failed to warn me is highly addictive. I’m also two weeks late for a monthly shot that sends me into menopause, which is crucial to keeping me in remission.

Because of red tape, I’ll have to wait at least another week before getting the injection, which means I will likely get my period back, which is dangerous to my health.

After spending all morning on the phone regarding these problems, I checked Twitter to find that Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, is re-opening the entire state for business, which means many more sick people, which means my issues with getting my routine shit done to stay in remission from cancer are just a sampling of what’s to come.

This is how many people die in the system — when there is no single cause except for general bureaucracy, which is probably just a front for corruption at multiple levels of the American health care system.

It is why it is simply more accurate to call it the American health kill system.

The phrase is even more accurate than “sick care,” a term that gained some notoriety when the federal government was investigating U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, another Florida Republican, for health fraud in the 1990s, when he was at-the-time chief executive of the largest hospital chain.

Health kill is more accurate than sick care because it gets to the heart of the matter: the system will inevitably kill you if you let it.

The intention of the American system is not to extend life, but rather, to make money from a natural resource, which is our physical bodies; that is why coal mines have been replaced by hospitals. We are being pillaged for all we are worth until we die.

I don’t know what I will do yet or how I will do it but I intend to survive the pandemic. And for me, that may mean leaving this health kill system, for good.

 

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