In a worldwide pandemic, what does our for-profit, private, health insurance economy provide for us as Americans? In a country of approximately, 327 million people, it provides 100,000 Intensive Care Unit beds and 1,000,000 (one million) hospital beds. That means that there are 327 people/hospital bed and 3,272 people/ICU bed.
Our hospitals usually run at close to full capacity because that is the business model which calculates costs and benefits and doesn’t build any excess capacity to take care of us during earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, flooding, snowstorms, epidemics, or pandemics. COVID-19 should make us rethink the scarcity of hospitalized care in the richest country in the world.
COVID-19 may just remind us of John Donne’s famous words “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”