The Foul Legacy of Profit-Making


Healthcare is one of the most important issues in US political and social culture. Tho a catastrophic condition will not likely strike most individuals during their working lives, for those who themselves or family members have crucial health problems the matter of healthcare poses a concern.

Hospitals and nursing homes practices often leave many in the lurch. Profit making for healthcare institutions means that the bottom line means more than the old adage, “The customer is always right.” In this industry, people’s bodies have become commodities, and even if the quality of service is high, that nearly always depends on level of insurance as well as the condition for which they receive treatment.

For the most part, hospital workers remain overworked and underpaid. Short-staffing means that the institutions have nurses and aids serving more beds than is optimal. In some cases, the hospitals and nursing homes may even take more drastic measures.

In Pittsburgh, workers at two different healthcare systems recently filed lawsuits with the Department of Labor because they did not get paid for hours they worked. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) must appear in court as defendants of cases where they cheated workers out of pay:

“Court documents reveal employees of the hospitals deducted half-hour meal breaks out of their paychecks even if they worked through their meal times. The legal action filed also alleges employees were not paid for work performed before and after scheduled shifts and not paid for required training. Any employer who fails to pay employees for hours worked and does not allow for breaks as required by federal guidelines is in violation of U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) http://www.dol.gov wage laws. On Monday, a federal lawsuit for two former Pittsburgh Mercy Health System nurses was filed by their employment attorneys. The documents filed in court state the nurses were not paid for training and work they performed during meal breaks over a three-year period.” (Justice News Flash Seo Company)

In a country where doctors typically graduate from medical $100,000 in debt, the finance world dominates even in education and medicine. Pressure to make high salaries and establish a practice ties them into a complex web filled with medical suppliers, pharmaceuticals, keeping apace with scientific advances, and their relationships with employers, patients and staff. Compare this with statistics that say doctors live an average of 55 years; profit making does not afford them time to care for their own health and fulfillment.

If one of the wealthiest segments of the population cannot find time to care for its own health, health professionals themselves, what does this say for the rest of us?

Even tho the average worker does not understand how the system of capitalism bases itself on their oppression and exploitation, nevertheless the level of dissatisfaction with the capitalist system continues to mount. With the present economic meltdown weighing heavily upon workers, the middle class and business, no workable alternatives for “weaning” people off of capitalism have become popular. People talk about weaning this country away from foreign oil, however the discussion about the evil of capitalism have yet to become serious.

For this discussion to become serious, the Left has to be courageous. Black Power advocates have to sharpen their line and push the Left. We must take on this role since the problems in our communities are sharper and deeper than in the white community. Imperialist exploitation and oppression concentrates on colonized peoples.

When the wealthiest sectors of the communities receive government giveaways, we have to push the Reparations question. When we see government merging with corporate finance institutions, we must form dual and competing political power. When the unemployment lines swell at the rate of 50,000 lost jobs per month, the time for shutting down capitalism thru strikes and plant takeovers is overdue.

What effective agitational components can we bring to unions and workers, to the churches and masjids, to community centers, small businesses and athletic associations? These are questions begging to be answered, if only the Left will first ask them. All power to the people, and Black Power to the Black Community!

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