Many of us think of our own health as a luxury – something to value and appreciate, certainly, but not something we have an ethical responsibility to maintain. We may want to think again. Taking control of our own health could be the most effective way – indeed, the only way – to take back our power from two of the most powerful corporate interests that now control our world: the health insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. In other words, your health is not just a personal issue, but a social justice issue.
Perhaps the most prominent corporate monopoly is the health insurance industry. Since 1998, over 400 mergers left two conglomerates in control of the huge health care insurance industry. Mergers allowed insurers to raise prices, buy influence in Congress, and redistribute cost savings to shareholders. Health insurance monopolies do business under pseudonyms to hide their identities and project a false impression of competition in the industry.
And then, of course, there are the pharmaceutical companies. Of all Western nations, only the United States and New Zealand allow drug companies to advertise their products directly to consumers. In the U.S., drug manufacturers spend billions annually on direct marketing and advertising to consumers – far beyond what they spend on research. We’re fed the constant message: “Ask you doctor if [our drug] is right for you.” [Read more...]