Health Justice NOW (III) What Lies Beyond

Timothy Faust’s philippic against the US healthcare continues with some of the causes of health inequity and their structural roots..

Health policy has a term I like: the “social determinants of health.”…Whether or not a person will recover after surgery is, in large part, determined long before they are admitted to the hospital. (page 136)

There is no law of nature that denies every person in America a safe place to sleep or healthy food to eat. There is only an institutional refusal to see it provisioned. (page 137)

It is worth noting that much of our wildly unhealthy food is the product of a farm subsidy system that prioritizes the destructive overproduction of corn, and a century of food science that turns it, alchemy-like, into addictive and incredibly unhealthy food products that can be sold much more cheaply than healthier options. In this sense, the American diabetes epidemic is an end-to-end capitalist affliction. (page 141 footnote)

And so if you care, or if you have been compelled to care, about the health of your people, you must invest in the slow work of liberating all people from poverty; of tilting against the centuries of exploitation and immiseration for profit. (page 146)

We refuse to care for people, and so they become sick. We make them sick. And if you’re the wrong kind of sick, or if you’re the wrong kind of person, we delegate your care to the prisons, which are becoming increasingly privatized. (page 149)

So long as we use prison to hide those who have been made “undesirable,” healthcare and prison are inseparable….Prisons are not hospitals. They are warehouses for the mentally ill. They are storage units for the unwanted. (page 150)

This is the neoliberal approach to the carceral state. Not to dismantle it, but to rationalize it. To invent processes that reenact already-existing acts of structural violence – the dehumanization of poor, sick, and Black or Brown people – then cite those old acts of violence as justification for the new acts of violence. It is a tautological model of immiseration. (page 152)

[T]here’s a widely held conclusion, even among academics and other nerdlinger-types in health policy, that health outcomes differ by race. This conclusion is lazy. Health outcomes don’t differ because of race. They differ because of racism. (page 154)

Cops bring NARCAN to middle-class white neighborhoods with high numbers of OUD calls. They bring guns to Black and Brown and poor ones. (page 157)

For decades, the inadequacy and naked incompetence of the private insurance model has been left unresolved, and like a wound it has started to rot. None of us are safe in our bodies, and the slightest crack can ruin you – and your children – for life. We have been atomized and isolated and made sick – we have been immiserated – by the snakes of structural poverty, by structural racism, by patriarchal domination. The people of America have been crippled by not only a corporatist healthcare model that extracts profits from us like oil, but a colossal machine that seeks to pump wealth from the powerless and give it to those already powerful. (page 166)

This is not a call for charity. It is a call for returning to the people what has been taken from them. It is an effort to fight off the apocalyptic, death-loving monsters who will one day murder every single one of us – but who will set upon some of us sooner, and more savagely, than others. Fuck ’em. (page 167)

I think single-payer represents a great unchaining of the American worker: a chance to finally be able to quit a job or organize your workplace without fear of employer domination over a sick husband or a sick kid. (page 194)

20 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by NJ2AZ on March 29, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    “….the slow work of liberating all people from poverty”

    the quickest route to reducing poverty (i don’t believe it could ever be eradicated) would be to tailor government policy to discourage the already impoverished from breeding

    instead of the exact opposite of that like we do now

    Reply

  2. Posted by PS Drone on March 29, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    You can thank our “greatest” President, Lyndon Johnson, for the infamous Great Society which “spawned” (no pun intended) this phenomenon in 1965. Now growing the third generation of mouths to feed with no parental responsibility to meet that need.

    Reply

  3. Posted by MJ on March 30, 2020 at 6:42 am

    But if we dare to say anything to address this we are labeled as hateful, racist, uncaring, white privileged towards the poor. Please, to me there is a difference between true need and those who think they are entitled to all of the things that everyone else has to work for while the “welfare” queens walk around without a care in the world and no responsibility without a father or grandfather in sight

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on March 30, 2020 at 10:02 am

      Of course I didn’t say anything, but It ticked me off watching someone in front of me at the supermarket checkout counter buying King Crab Legs with Food Stamps …… a WTF moment.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on March 30, 2020 at 10:08 am

        Tough love has never learned probably because she never attends church or read the Bible that she is not in control she cannot control other people looks like she can’t control herself either.

        Reply

      • Posted by MJ on March 31, 2020 at 7:32 am

        Yup, not a care in the world because absolutely nothing has changed for that food stamp recipient. While in other news, hundreds of thousands of people suddenly and without warning found themselves out of a job. Yes, there will be some government help but I doubt it will make many whole and I think that most of these lost jobs will never come back. But those welfare checks will keep coming and food stamps and WIC and HUD and everything else.
        Again, there is a difference between true need and those sucking off of everyone else with no accountability.

        Reply

      • Posted by A on March 31, 2020 at 1:05 pm

        Not saying you are hateful, racist, uncaring, or even white privileged, but a lot of those on food stamps, welfare, housing assistance, etc. are working. Or unable to work.

        “SNAP provides important nutritional support for low-wage working families, low-income seniors and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes, and other individuals and households with low incomes.”

        I’ve known many of them over the years. Some of them are worthless asshats, but a lot of them are very decent hard-working people. At one point I was a single parent State employee who qualified for child care assistance and food stamps. Luckily, one promotion with a five percent raise was enough to pull me out. Ironic, the “raise” meant I ended up with less money per month, but I’m OK with that.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on March 31, 2020 at 1:36 pm

          Stephen,

          Not saying you are hateful, racist, uncaring, or even white privileged, but a GREAT DEAL of money necessary to support those on food stamps, welfare, housing assistance, etc., is unjustly diverted to over-compensating lower (and many middle) income Public Sector workers …… a structure you fervently support.

          Reply

  4. Posted by MJ on March 31, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    A,,,…my comment was not directed towards those who work and make an honest living in a lower wage position. We all need a little help now and then. Obviously, your salary went up so you no longer qualified. The goal is to work hard, get experience, move up and live within one’s means. Sounds like you did. I’m talking about those who make a “career” of cradle to grave public assistance. Too much money too many resources going towards the least productive members of society IMO

    Reply

  5. Posted by A on March 31, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    I don’t know how prevalent that is. Do you have any data? I “hear” the incidence of outright fraud is very low, but haven’t really read or heard much about “cradle to grave”.
    Quick search shows one interesting article:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/26/welfare-system-beveridge-75-years

    Just started reading. If you have anything more substantial I’d be glad to hear about it. I’ve never been bothered by welfare in principle, my Dad never used it and he was low paid labor his whole life. But, after Mom passed away, he married a widow with seven daughters. She had been on welfare for years, while also working as a fry cook.

    That’s all I need, another project, but it does look interesting.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on March 31, 2020 at 8:21 pm

      Quoting Stephen Douglas ………….

      ” I “hear” the incidence of outright fraud is very low”

      Ad you said to MJ ………. “Do you have any data?”

      Reply

  6. Posted by A on March 31, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    “Everyone wants “fairness”, but what kind? Iain Duncan Smith (father of four) found it unfair for low-paid families to have too many children so he allowed benefits for just two. But it’s unfair for a child to grow up poor because they have more siblings – or because their parents are low-paid, mentally ill, inept or plain unlucky. Every child deserves an equal chance, say all parties, though rightwingers put punishing the sins of parents ahead of the rights of the child. National identity is wrapped up in these choices, veering between generosity and severity.”

    Reply

    • Posted by NJ2AZ on March 31, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      “…Every child deserves an equal chance,”. In a vacuum: yes. But society cannot assume an unlimited obligation to pay for children who frankly should not have been born….especially when most of the interventions do little more than to keep those people alive and breeding (as opposed to actually lifting them out of poverty).

      until this changes, its just a slow march to ruin.

      Reply

      • Posted by NJ2AZ on March 31, 2020 at 5:19 pm

        If i’ve got two stray cats hanging around i can do one of three things:

        1. drown them both (or i guess only one). Cruel, but its over.
        2. Provide for them but also spay/neuter. I only have to manage two cats.
        3. Keep putting out food and do nothing else. a few years down the road i’ve got 100s of cats, which i’m also committed to feeding. eventually i’m overrun.

        What society does now is essentially option 3. You can say any bad word you want about me for likening my fellow human beings to animals, but it doesn’t make me wrong. As long as people keep approaching this without an ounce of rationality, it will never end.

        Reply

        • Posted by PS Drone on March 31, 2020 at 6:18 pm

          In addition to the feral cats in your back yard, you have also chosen to import additional cats from various shithole countries that seem to be even smarter than the locals in ferreting out the maximum benefits available to those who think parasiting is their God-given right. We deserve what we are about to get in spades.

          Reply

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