Analysis Of Barbara Ehrenreich's Gouging The Poor

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The essay, “Gouging the Poor” by Barbara Ehreneich ridicules the current health care system and speaks for the unfortunate without health insurance. She adopts a sarcastic tone to appeal to the audience about the unethical way the hospitals are treating the patients. Ehrenreich’s first-hand experience of no longer having health-insurance and her use of evidence make her argument about the health-care system compelling. Throughout her piece, Ehrenreich uses many sources that establish her credibility and appeal to ethos, as well as build her argument. These sources include “The Wall Street Journal” (Ehrenreich par. 2), “Tawana Marks, a registrar at [a] hospital” (par. 4), “Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel” (par. 5), “Los Angeles Times” (par. 5), …show more content…

She points out facts about her own insurance where she has “a condition- say high blood pressure or diabetes- serious enough to be entered into your medical record.” (par. 7) where she lost her job and her health insurance. She tried to get new insurance “but no one want[ed] [her] because [she] now [has] a ‘pre-existing condition,’” (par. 7). She now has to “enter the hospital as a ‘self-pay’ patient, [and] incur bills four times higher than an insured patient would,” (par. 7). This supports the idea that the health care system is commercialized and just out for financial gain, making insurance so hard to get, making uninsured people pay more. Ehrenreich continues with many facts: “Martin Bushman… had run up a $579 debt to Carle Hospital in Champaign-Urbana. When he failed to appear for a court hearing on his debt… he was arrested and hit with $2,500 bail.” (par. 2), “one local hospital charged an uninsured patient $29,000 for an appendectomy that would have cost an insured patient $6,783.” (par. 5), and “the uninsured account for only 2 percent of its patients, but 35 percent of its profits” (par. 5). The details and numbers build an appeal to logos and influence the reader that health care is a …show more content…

She uses humour right from the start with “[t]here’s been a lot of whining about health care recently” (par. 1) and “[d]espite the growing misfit between health are costs and personal incomes, it is not yet illegal to be sick.” (par. 1). She induces a feeling of how satirical hospitals are handling things, as well as a slight underlying seriousness that being sick is a major problem. She adds phrases such as “given the hospitals’ predatory collection tactics, [you may] wind up in jail” (par. 7), “some bright young MBA… is no doubt coming to the conclusion that a great deal of money and valuable medical resources could be saved through the simple expedient of arresting people at the first sign of illness.” (par. 9) and “[s]hould a rash or sore throat arrive, I stand ready, at some deep psychic level, to serve my time.” (par. 10). All of these phrases give off a sarcastic feel about the health care system, which makes the reader feel that the way health care is handled is so unbelievable that it’s funny. Additionally, she compares serious criminals such as child molesters and ax murderers with people who are sick and uninsured. The different type of people are essentially incomparable. However, Ehrenreich is insinuating that if you are uninsured and sick, the jail is a better choice over hospitals. “Gouging the Poor” is a bitter criticism of the current health care system in the United States. With

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