By Ahmed CK Kutty, M.D.
Committee on Commerce and Consumer Affairs, General Court of New Hampshire, Jan. 30, 2019
Honorable Representatives on the Committee:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak in this august forum. As aspects of the proposed solutions to the healthcare crisis facing a substantial portion of Granite State population have been presented here already this afternoon, I will confine my remarks to the moral imperative for acting to remedy the widely -prevalent extant gross injustice whose provenance is LACK of affordable and adequate availability of healthcare access to ALL citizens and legal residents of our State.
Our country is unique among the nations of the Earth, for being the most powerful nation economically, militarily and politically, while steadfastly remaining a democracy, resulting in the generation of the largest middle class the world has EVER seen, manifested in our time during the three decades after WWII, and also NOT evident in all of recorded history going as far back as the Roman Empire era.
Given this fact, it is unconscionable and unacceptable that our healthcare system ranks 27th, behind Saudi Arabia per the World Health Organization listing for 2018, using population-based measures of overall health status of nations. Yet our university -based teaching hospitals, leading clinics, doctors and biomedical-clinical science researchers and facilities are the envy of the global community. In contrast we rank first by far, on healthcare spending assessed as per capita (about $10,000 a year) or by total spending (currently at $3.4 $trillion annually), and as a percentage of our Gross Domestic Product (now at around 18% yearly). Corresponding figures for the advanced- economy nations are: $5000/year per capita, and 10% of the GDP on the average.
At the core of this paradox lies the intolerable inequity, prohibitively high cost and resultant unaffordability to access the world class care- providers, composed of institutions and clinical professionals that we have created and trained, within our borders. This shameful outcome, I believe sprang(and continues to originate), from the inexcusable lack of political WILL on the part of our elected policy makers and the democratically elected leadership, for NOT getting several progressive Bills on healthcare introduced over the years, into Acts that would supply the necessary funding for establishing a well-crafted public system, replacing our prevailing fragmented, needlessly wasteful, inefficient and for-profit NON-SYSTEM, that has stubbornly persisted for over a century since the end of WWI.
A few quotes I hope will speak to the moral dimensions of the unacceptable and dismal failure of our current healthcare system, causing avoidable misery, preventable death and catastrophic economic ruin among about 100 million of our fellow citizens who are uninsured and under-insured for NO fault, and estimated to be about 70 million nationally and approximately 200,000 in NH.
- For when I was hungry you fed me…when I was naked you clothed me, when I was sick and you visited me: Matthew 25:35-40
- Health is NOT a consumer good but a universal right: His Holiness Pope Francis – 2016
- US healthcare system is immoral: Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General of the UN.
- International law has recognized healthcare as a human right for over 70 years.
- Putting healthcare access at risk for tax-relief to the rich is immoral. No one should face sickness without healthcare access, so someone can take a tax deduction for a yacht: Rev Jason Carson Wilson of United Church of Christ.
- Of all forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is most shocking and inhuman: Martin Luther King.
- US healthcare system is the tapeworm of American competitiveness: Warren Buffet.
- We the People…provide for the common defense, promote general Welfare…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States: the Preamble.
An ethical, broad and faith-based reading of the above clause…”provide for general Welfare” lends strong support to the position that providing for a publicly-financed healthcare system is necessary for fulfillment of the Constitutional mandate contained therein.
Therefore esteemed law makers, as you deliberate on the bills before you, I urge you to ask “your inner voice-conscience,” which modern neurobiology conceptualizes as an organ system consisting of the gut, heart and brain composite, functioning as an integrated neural network-axis, just ONE simple question: Will my actions bring succor to the sick among the 99% of the population in my district that I am elected to represent and serve?
Thank you for your attention.