Political Bureaucrats and Generals certainly have a way with words. If they can’t be found in the dictionary, they invent new terms. When our men and women go to war and kill their own comrades-in-arms or millions of civilians as a result of friendly fire, these deaths are considered collateral damage. By dehumanizing death, our leaders attempt to avoid the inevitable truth: that war creates victims of our people by our people.
When insurance companies, pharmaceutical conglomerates, and our nation’s leaders wish to levy higher premiums on the health coverage of our unsuspecting nation, they determine that our bodies have pre-existing conditions. These conditions, which any insurance company can conveniently trace to the second we are born, hit women, the poor and the elderly particularly hard in the United States, and some will die because they simply can’t afford to pay the astonishingly high insurance premiums. Somehow the politicians and their associates in the health industry believe that by calling our illnesses pre-existing conditions it will make the higher payments or death somewhat easier. It won’t.
It may be asking for a miracle but our bureaucrats and our health institutions could add another expression to their linguistic skills: universal coverage. Most developed, civilized nations in the world have universal coverage. Except the United States. And maybe that’s the problem: universal coverage is a pre-existing condition which provokes collateral damages to our most vulnerable population and may negatively affect the inhumane, enormous profits made by our institutions and politicians.
*Senior Scholar, York University