By now, most people are familiar with the continuing outbreak and spread of the Ebola Virus; a virus which attacks the nervous and vascular system, causing its victim to literally bleed to death from the inside out. As scary as that sounds, there is something even more frightening than death by Ebola -- the impending cost of health care needed to conquer the disease and everyone who comes down with it. If you think paying for a doctor visit for a cough is tough, wait until Ebola becomes mainstream.
Ebola has become a buzzword for the evil that disease can bring upon humanity. But this evil is countered by the evil of healthcare costs, which force billions of people worldwide, from third world countries to industrialized nations like the U.S., to have to weigh the balance between saving lives or dealing with huge health expenditures. The evolution of worldwide health care into a profit industry has forced the hands of doctors and other caregivers to consider how much money are they willing to lose in order to save more lives. This is the obvious downside of making health care a for-profit business.
By mixing profits with health care, we as a society are literally holding the lives of people hostage -- pay up or you will die... end of story... next in line please.
If AIDS weren't enough of a wake up call, here comes Ebola -- this exotic disease that we thought could never make its way to the U.S., and now is in several states wrestle with how to both cure it and contain it. Like many diseases, no doubt it will spread because some idiot decides he feels okay as he boards a packed airline. Tuberculosis, move over, you've got yourself a seat mate.
It is no surprise that the latest Ebola patients are faced with "limited supply" of vaccine, as pharmaceutical companies weigh their options at deciding how best to squeeze profits from their new gem. Imagine millions of people at risk of dying, and drug companies saying to themselves
"Hold on, wait a minute -- are you saying that this person will die if they don't get my drug? Hmm... how much is he willing to pay?"
Ebola is a frightening drug for sure. But the prospect of millions having to rely or beg for their healthcare providers to NOT take advantage of the situation, is like asking a wolf to please not eat the chickens.
Let's hope that Ebola doesn't become the new profit game for drug companies and healthcare providers.
... I can just see them licking their chops right now...