We are all becoming more sick and tired. Attacks to our health are happening on every level – whether from the boss, the politicians or the insurance companies – they all want a piece. Our quality of life is being stolen from us only to further fill the bank accounts of the rich and it’s making us sick – literally! To the wealthy, our health is just another source of untapped profit and we are being pushed to our limits.
Work itself has been making us sick. We’re doing more work to make up for short staffing, and we’re more stressed because of it. The latest figures show that workers are doing the most work since 1929, when these stats were first recorded. Many of us are getting hurt on the job and more often we’re just working through it because we need the money to pay for our rising costs of care. And the more stressed out and sleep derived we are, the more often we get sick.
At the same time, we are noticing our breaks being rushed and skipped and we’re finding ourselves eating whatever’s quick and cheap – never what’s healthy. We are more caffeinated, increasing our daily doses of coffee, energy shots or No Doze pills. Even while we are constantly doing more with less, sales for energy drinks increased over 30 percent last year.
All this is our attempt to keep up with the worsening conditions of our lives – whether it’s extra hours or overtime, doing the work of two or more people on the job, or having enough energy to spend time with our families or even go out after work. Either way, we just don’t have the time.
As conditions at our jobs are getting worse, those of us who still might have health care have seen it increasingly under attack. Our health care plans are being picked apart as the bosses try to figure out ways to pay less and less for our coverage. Co-pays and deductibles are going up and monthly payments have been getting to the point where many of us are being forced to go without any coverage at all. We are seeing all this happen while the profits of the companies we work for are going through the roof.
Millions of others are losing medical coverage because of layoffs. After years on a job, and having some form of health coverage, we’re not only thrown out of work, but we lose our health insurance as well. So, as we struggle to get by with less money, now we have to pay for healthcare out of our pockets or turn to public assistance and hospitals or clinics.
And what is the status of this public assistance or our public hospitals? Across the country, in every state, making further cuts to social services is the solution to deal with this growing need. Using public health assistance is becoming harder as more restrictions are added to even qualify. And those of us who use public hospitals know that increasingly it will be an all day, if not an overnight, affair because of the long wait times due to overcrowding.
But this isn’t anything new – social services have been cut for decades by both Democrats and Republicans alike – the only difference now is that they are bigger. For many of us, these deep cuts could mean the impossible choice of quitting our jobs to care for a loved one or keeping our jobs to keep a roof over our heads. Either way – this is not a choice anyone should have to make.
It is no surprise that last year doctor visits decreased by 15 percent. This is not because people were healthier but simply because we can’t afford to go to the doctor. So, we are working under more stressful conditions, and making record profits for companies. And at the same time, we are either paying more for worse coverage or we can’t afford any medical care at all. And the result is we are getting sicker and have fewer options of getting treatment. This doesn’t make any sense.
We are living in a world where it has been decided that the health of bank accounts is more important than the health of the people who live in this sick society.