For some clarity, in reference to public health, I’m not limiting the scope to the free healthcare which is provided by the government. That just forms part of it and makes for a very important pointer forming part of the whole discussion, because really it’s funded by the taxpayers. Anyway, in the spotlight today are some very interesting observations around the effects of politics on public health.
A war of the lobbyists
There will naturally always be some market forces driven by the basic laws of economics, i.e. if there’s a need for medical care and other health related services, somebody will step up to provide for those needs. However, when we look at the effects of politics on the development and progression of the public health industry it becomes apparent that there is some kind of war of the lobbyists going on. Two sides seem to be in existence, which are not necessarily fighting against each other directly, but are rather fighting for the average person on the street.
On the one side of the lobby fence are the big corporations who channel their money into medical research and development, which granted accounts for the production of new treatments that actually solve many medical and health issues, but at the core of their motivation are profits. As a result, something like a cure for cancer is only really available to those who can afford it, yet the medical field is lauded for having produced a treatment for an illness that has been plaguing humanity for a good while.
On the other side of the lobby fence are those organizations which appear to be fighting for the rights of the consumers, hence laws around patents and the subsequent licence to produce and distribute generics. Governments often get involved by becoming a major customer of the medical industry, purchasing drugs and other treatments from the private pharmaceutical sector to distribute freely to its citizens or at a vastly reduced price that ensures they can now afford to benefit from medical field advancements.
Any which way we look at it, the policy-makers who sign off on the rules and regulations around everything to do with the health and medical industry are also in it for the money, in that government officials get paid colossal salaries, by any standard of measurement. So it effectively becomes a matter of their goodwill, or whatever little goodwill they may have, in order for them to actually pass laws that ultimately make healthcare more affordable to the public.
This is where third-forces come in to effect, which are those organizations that have made it their business to fight for the rights of the general public. We’re talking here the likes of United Energy Workers Healthcare, who in addition to offering free home health services to former nuclear energy workers in need of such services, actually help those former nuclear energy workers and their families get their due compensation for conditions they may have developed as a result of what has turned out to be a hazardous working environment.
To think how many people would have had to go on suffering were it not for such third-forces cannot help but make one shudder.