Medicine & the Affordable Care Act

February 22, 2017 at 10:07 am (Uncategorized)

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Let me preface this post by saying that back in the early 2000’s, I was one of the pioneering liberals who advocated for the European Model of Universal Healthcare. Simply put, you pay a little extra in taxes, and in return you never have a doctor bill. I still support this model of healthcare, with a few addendums I will list in a little while.

The Affordable Healthcare Act is not Universal Healthcare…not by a long shot. European Healthcare is based on a socialist model, where in the United States, socialism is the dirtiest of political dirty words. No we here in the west take entirely too much pride in the model of oppression we call capitalism. Buy buy! And anyone who says otherwise should be burned at the stake.

Whereas I will not get into the pros and cons of the free market (I do actually see the virtue in it lest you think I am just a flaming socialist, I’m not), I will say that unfettered capitalism is unfettered greed. Some are going to be better at the game than others, leaving many starving even with a job. Those who made their money playing the system, have a duty to give back to the system they profited from. This is not Vril, we are not Nazis, have a little compassion, lest I insult the animals by calling you one.

But I digress. There are certain things where a business model, is a bad idea. Businesses are driven by one thing, profit. As a small business owner I know this drive well. And there are two ways to achieve this, one is by making more money, the other is by cutting expenses. A really good business, does both. Current economic theory favors constant growth, the same strategy as a cancer cell, and in the words of Gaylord Nelson, “the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment.” That being said, unlimited growth will eventually consume the planet alive…and well look around you, I rest my case. I personally favor steady state economics, a sustainable approach, but again, I digress. Plainly put both government and healthcare are two examples where running it like a business, is a terrible idea.

That is not to say that income and expenditures should not be balanced, that is not to say that they should not be efficient and cost-effective, by all means they should be. But if they are run simply for the profit motive, their intrinsic purpose, to serve humanity, will forever be whittled away at in the name of profit, and in the end, they will fail at their purpose entirely. Even utilitarianism has its limits in such circumstances.

From that perspective then, I ask you reader to evaluate our current healthcare debate. Insurance companies, which are for profit, they have shareholders and in many cases are publicly traded on the stock market, somehow got involved in an equation that should have only involved government taxation, medical providers and the people. But they did, and the result was a mangled healthcare reform bill that quite frankly made the situation worse. Believe me, I’ve been uninsured and been hospitalised, the bill stinks, and is enough to bankrupt in some cases, no one should have to choose between financial survival and literal survival, and without insurance, that is exactly what many are faced with. But what really is the problem there? Is it the lack of insurance, a commodity to be bought and publicly traded for profit, a further drain on the families finances, or is it the fact “healthcare” is so expensive in the first place?

The unfair choice between financial health and physical health applies to a law that now forces people to buy insurance, if you are covered under state insurance you are lucky, because if you aren’t, you don’t even want to know what insurance premiums now cost for the middle class and employers. Go ahead, find an insurance website, get a quote saying you make $40,000/year, and hold on to your chair, you are going to need to. And since when, in a country that declared its independence by dumping tea in a harbor over a 2?, 3? percent tax hike, suddenly become ok with being forced to buy anything? And you think socialism is bad? Its crap like that, that gives socialism a bad name. But that isn’t socialism, that’s some sort of weird alien hybrid between socialism and capitalism and it needs to be put out of its misery.

You want to know why half of the country voted for Trump?  That is why. If you do not make more than 10-20,000 a year, you don’t understand. People want to complain about having food stamps cut (and that is b.s. btw, no one should go hungry, but I would propose a few modifications to the program, ie, you get more benefits when you get a job, not the way it is now, where your benefits are cut the moment you get a job), but try working 50 hours a week, most of your waking life in toil and away from the ones you love, and having a quarter of it taken right off the top, if not more for taxes and insurance. Try working your ass off and NEVER getting ahead. Some of it is poor financial choices, some of it isn’t.

See, there is a lot of anger among the people who support conservatives, but it is because they are misled. They think they have to pay those taxes because of welfare, what they don’t realise is the majority of those taxes go to feed the war machine. And yes I get it that those wars are fought for oil, but they dont, again, they are misled. If you really want to make this country better, start educating, not condescendingly, be willing to listen and learn and admit where you may be wrong, but start proving where the money is really going…marches arent going to do squat except cause more strife. They are right that some of that money is going to health insurance, health insurance they had before the Affordable Care Act, and so again, I am brought to the point, of why is healthcare so expensive in the first place?

My grandfather was a doctor, earned his MD in the depression, and he was the last of the old guard who swore the Hippocratic oath before being a physician, just as he was the last the of the old guard that made house calls and practiced out of his home, not out of an office of a healthcare conglomerate. In his day it was widely known that even something as simple as an aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, weakened the heart muscle. He was the generation of victory gardens and self-reliance. Wait, did I just say doctors don’t swear the Hippocratic Oath anymore??? Yes I did…

“I SWEAR by Apollo the physician and AEsculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation — to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others. I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgement, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. I will not cut persons labouring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further, from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. Whatever, in connection with my professional service, or not in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times. But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot”

Notice anything? I notice four things, one that the art is to be taught without stipulation or fee, and two, that no deadly medicine should be prescribed. Furthermore I notice that a physician is supposed to do his art without corruption. Is it clear to you my reader why they can no longer in good conscience swear this oath? Listen to an ad for a pharmaceutical, listen to the list of side effects and ask yourself, could a physician prescribing this medication be able to swear this oath? No, he/she could not, yet this is precisely the state of Western Medicine. In addition it forbids the practice of surgery by a physician, yet this what is recommended by a physician in many cases even if he is not the one performing it. Am I saying all surgery is bad? No, I am however saying a lot of unnecessary expensive surgeries occur, because of corruption.

I really do wonder how modern medicine would change if once again they were required to swear this oath that curses them should they break it. Tell me, how the heck does a Tylenol (toxic to liver) cost $100? How does staying at a hospital cost $10,000/day? I assure you it’s not the doctors that see all that money. So I bring the point home that is the problem really not being able to afford insurance, or is the problem the sacred cow of the medical facilities and supplies? I don’t doubt that a linear accelerator used to treat cancer is expensive, what I do question is the medical establishment that doesn’t see that cancer in many cases is a product of radiation, and poor food choices, and toxins.

Cancer has been around for centuries, but it has not been as prevalent until the modern era, and I ask you, what then has changed? Our diets, our lifestyles, & our technology. Now almost every single doctor worth their salt and not corrupt is going to tell you to fix your diet, but so many people refuse to take responsibility for that. They don’t want to be told that doughnuts might be the devil nutritionally, and instead they just want a pill to make it all go away. Problem is the pill, makes something else go wrong, and then they take a pill for that side effect, which gives them another side effect, until they finally die a premature and preventable death. So tell me, is insurance coverage really the problem here?

I say it’s a populace unwilling to educate themselves about food. I say its a bunch of buttheads who refused to listen to their moms when she said to eat your veggies. I say its a product of marketing, powerful ag and pharmaceutical lobbies. I say its a product of the wheat beef culture that has been funding population explosion and the resultant territorial wars since prehistory. It’s the mistaken belief that eating another animal will make you stronger…but no where in there, do I think that health insurance is going to fix that. It could incentivize healthy lifestyle choices, that those who somehow could prove they eat healthy, didn’t drink and smoke, were given substantially reduced premiums. You could voluntarily sign up to have your expenses monitored, so you could prove it that way, but it’s just a suggestion off the top of my head, plenty of thinking and bugs to be worked on there.

The point remains though that we could fix the healthcare system that way, use the powerful insurance lobby and their profit motive to our advantage, after all people who take care of themselves are going to be less of an expense to carry in the long run. In closing, I just want to inject a little sanity into the debate surrounding healthcare, and remove it from partisan clutches that keep it in deadlock due to the pockets they are in. And I want to bring up the point that the fundamental flaws of healthcare reform go far deeper than what the debate is currently about, we really want to fix it, then lets fix it, because the band-aid we are fighting over currently does not cover the territory.

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