Why Is America the Only Developed Nation With No Right To Healthcare?

The for-profit health insurance industry has attached itself to us like a giant, bloodsucking tick and "Scientific Racism" is part of the reason why

By Thom Hartmann | The Thom Hartmann Report | June 17, 2021

There’s only one person in this photograph/video of last week’s G7 meeting who represents a country where an illness can destroy an entire family, leaving them bankrupt and homeless, with the repercussions of that sudden fall into poverty echoing down through generations.

Most Americans have no idea that the United States is quite literally the only country in the developed world that doesn’t define healthcare as an absolute right for all of its citizens.

That’s it. We’re the only one left.

The United States spends more on “healthcare” than any other country in the world: about 17% of GDP.

Switzerland, Germany, France, Sweden and Japan all average around 11%, and Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Netherlands, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia all come in between 9.3% and 10.5%.

Health insurance premiums right now make up about 22% of all taxable payroll, whereas Medicare For All would run an estimated 10%.

We are literally the only developed country in the world with an entire multi-billion-dollar for-profit industry devoted to parasitically extracting money from us to then turn over to healthcare providers on our behalf. The for-profit health insurance industry has attached itself to us like a giant, bloodsucking tick.

And it’s not like we haven’t tried. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson all proposed and made an effort to bring a national healthcare system to the United States. Here’s one example really worth watching (it’s 2 minutes and gets better as it goes along):

They all failed, and when I did a deep dive into the topic last year for my newest book The Hidden History of American Healthcare I found two major barriers to our removing that tick from our backs.

The early opposition, more than 100 years ago, to a national healthcare system came from southern white congressmen (they were all men) and senators who didn’t want even the possibility that Black people could benefit, health-wise, from white people’s tax dollars. (This thinking apparently still motivates many white Southern politicians.)

The leader of that healthcare-opposition movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was a German immigrant named Frederick Hoffman. Hoffman was a senior executive for the Prudential Insurance Company, and wrote several books about the racial inferiority of Black people, a topic he traveled the country lecturing about.