‘Sage’ has a thoughtful and caring face, but one tinged with anger. She knows she will never be allowed to be a doctor. Her blog post (kevinmd.com, May 26, 2014), tells of her dark skin. She wrote: ‘I look Native American. Because I am Native American. She tells of ingrained racism against her people: ‘My college professors think I’m stupid because of my skin color, my shabby clothes, my status as a single mom. They warn, “This class is hard. Be prepared to get a failing grade. I’d drop this class if I were you”. My doctor asks, “Have you been drinking again?” I tell him, “I’ve never touched alcohol in my life”. But he always asks me the same question’. She is stereotyped by white supremacists as a born loser, although her ancestry is noble – her grandfather was a tribal chief, her grandmother was a Medicine Woman.
‘Sage’ is very poor: ‘Natives like me struggle to pay for our next meal. We carry water home because we have no running water. We have no bathrooms at home. We use outhouses or buckets. It may be thirty below, but there’s no heat at home. We had electricity shut off Friday because we couldn’t afford our bills’. This is America – the land of no opportunity for some, and the model which UK politicians aspire to.
‘Sage’ had noble aims: ‘I want to be a family doctor. I want to return to my reservation and heal my people. But primary care is no way to pay off a quarter-to-half-million debt I’d accumulate as a student‘.
Sage’ is intelligent, but unwanted at medical school: ‘Even with my near-perfect GPA, my local college won’t grant scholarships … I recognize a system that is designed to set me up to fail and I refuse to be part of that system. I want to win, not be part of a system that frustrates me at every step. Medical school is not for me. The current system ensures that my dream of being a doctor is just for rich kids‘. This is the truth – many recent research studies in America conclude that medical students are overwhelmingly from wealthy families, with relatively poorer students acquiring an average debt of $150,000-$250,000; double that if they decide to to continue into specialities, such as radiology or neurology. It can take 20 to 30 years to pay off this debt.
Like ‘Sage’, thousands of American working class students can not study medicine. The affluent who graduate do not want to work in small rural towns. Newly qualified doctors with massive debts can not afford to.
American doctors are increasingly pawns in the hands of insurance companies, which deny their patients coverage for blood tests, diagnostics, and scans. Doctors are slow to be paid by these profit-before-humanity insurers. This we-will-pay-you-tomorrow strategy is designed to maximise their profits, as is their 20% ‘administration’ take from every insurance dollar. They are the arbiters of what doctors can do. They deny coverage of certain procedures, treatments, and surgeries, even for children. This is the wonderful world which awaits the somnambulant masses of the UK.
Everything which happens in the realm of American health care is adopted in the UK by our copycat neocon politicians. To look at the American health system is like peering into our future, just as surely as American foreign policy dictates the UK’s. A report by Sean Coughlan (January 7, 2015, bbc.co.uk), states: ‘The UK’s first private medical school has opened, with students paying annual tuition fees of £36,000. The first intake of 67 students is beginning this term at the University of Buckingham (which) says that there seems to be such demand to study medicine that students and their families are willing to pay higher fees at the private university’. The report quotes the UK Office for Fair Access, which confirms that only 4% of students beginning medicine or dentistry courses are from disadvantaged families. 4 in a 100, as many as that!
Socialist comrades in health care, rise as one to demand equal access to medical training for the working class, with their tuition fees being met by government. Oppose the racialist and class biased policies of the medical profession, which, as in America, exclude those who ride in the caboose of the train, who are denied the opportunity to work within their communities, even though they might be infinitely more qualified to train as a doctor than the children of the rich, for their grandmother may have been a Medicine Woman.
Socialist comrades in health care, rise as one to demand that American insurance schemes do not adulterate our health care system, and make it unrecognisable to those who cherish the vision of its socialist founders.
lenin nightingale 2015