The U.S. is said to offer gold-standard health care, but as the most expensive health system in the world, some here say that only people with a pot of gold can get that care.
Drug prices, health insurance, doctor visits and hospital stays are too expensive for many people to afford, while insurance and drug company profits continue to climb.
The nation is entering a health care crisis, many leaders and experts say. An estimated 46 million people do not have health insurance because they cannot afford it, and the U.S. has one of the poorest health profiles of the developed world.
Meanwhile, in 2005, pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson earned profits of 10 billion dollars and Pfizer had profits of eight billion dollars, according to Fortune Magazine.
Health care is bankrupting even well-to-do U.S. citizens, especially people who have the misfortune of becoming seriously ill.
"The reason our health system is so crazy is we treat health care as a commodity. That really doesn't work. Most countries see it as part of their job to take care of their people," Meizhu Lui, executive director of United for a Fair Economy, told IPS.