Health Insurance…or Healthcare…Choose One

At least as far back as the funeral societies of ancient Greece, humans have formed co-ops or investment groups to manage the kind of losses that happen to people rarely, without warning, or as in the case of a funeral, only once.  Early insurance organizations, like modern ones, averaged and distributed the losses to make them less painful.

These were not comprehensive relief plans.  Maybe a best friend would compensate you for the loss of a favorite hat, but the early societies and later insurance policies were intended to minimize only the loss of a ship, a precious heirloom, or a loved one.  Such insurance was rarely compulsory because the benefits were clear, and forced participation would change the mathematics of sustainable cost versus periodic benefit.

Imagine what would happen, for example, if lawmakers decided that legal minimum auto insurance wasn’t enough.  What if they decreed that insurance companies must pay every driver for regular auto maintenance, new shocks, batteries, and even the cost of gas?  Imagine tax money and tax benefits stirred into the mix.  The mathematics would go so out of whack that it would no longer be anything like insurance.  We’d have only a usuriously inefficient pre-payment scheme for everyday occurrences.  The rare collisions and breakdowns for which you’d really want insurance would become insignificant to the total costs involved.

So to stay in business in such a regulatory/fiscal swamp, auto insurance companies would start jacking up premiums and denying claims.  Outraged by rising costs and worsening service, drivers would beg lawmakers to enact cost caps and more regulations against the now-vilified mechanics and insurance companies.  But the pricing rules, bizarre service regulations, and now-necessary political lobbying would drive some mechanics and insurance companies out of business, while others would learn the game and rake in the dough.  On the other hand, even the cleverest shops would have to hire legions of front-office staff to handle the increasingly tricky paperwork and guidelines.  Grumbling about long waits, co-payments, changing service providers, and extra charges for high octane fuel, motorists would forgo routine oil changes or new tires, and cross their fingers against the catastrophic breakdown.  Some motorists would seek “alternative” car care services from chanting transmission savants who’d burn incense to heal a dying clutch.

Ultimately, the bloated world of automobile services would collapse, leaving only a niche market catering to the elite.

So far, this is only a dream scenario for public transportation advocates.

Now here’s the real question:

Which would you rather have -universal health insurance, or health care?   You can’t have both.   The numbers don’t work, and we’re already witnessing the result.

In a free market, prices drop and availability improves with every technological advance.  That’s not what’s happening in healthcare, is it?   Increased demand should lead to increased supply unless somebody uses force to change the rules.

That force has been building against healthcare since the late 1800’s, when Germany’s Chancellor Bismarck made socialized health insurance the latest thing from Europe.  Wage and price controls during WWII, along with a tax exemption for employer-provided health insurance sealed a devil’s bargain at a time when technology was revolutionizing healthcare.  Costs should have come down, but they were climbing, just as house calls and bartered care were getting pushed away.

And healthcare became tied to employment, because healthcare became one and the same as health insurance.   Health insurance was a perk of work with the real costs tax-subsidized into invisibility.  This caused a moral hazard, by which people began to use healthcare services differently than if they knew the actual costs.  This started the upward climb in real costs.   So without a job to hide those costs, healthcare spiraled out of reach.

Then President Johnson signed Medicare into law in 1965.  The doctors, businessmen and insurance companies who’d previously opposed socialized medicine hardly dared to speak against this keystone in the arch of the “Great Society.”  Almost at once, market logic was replaced by all that’s worst about politics.

Not so long ago, congress started using Medicare money to pay politically savvy teaching hospitals to reduce the number of doctors they trained.  As with paying farmers to ignore farming, our congress decided that healthcare needed price supports.  Yet Medicare payments for real services have been cut again and again across the board, with the most dramatic cuts yet just ahead.

As you should expect with politics, however, these cuts don’t lower costs…just the opposite, in fact, is happening.  Proposed “utilization rate” and “self-referral” rules intended to cut costs and abuse already, for example, force doctors to order more expensive tests using ionizing-radiation instead of cheaper, safer, and sometimes even more-effective ultrasound tests.  I’ve personally witnessed this, and a good friend of mine (a medical professional himself) has suffered a far more personal medical imaging horror story in which taxpayers got charged ten times the necessary cost, and my friend suffered serious medical complications.

But there’s more to say about where we’re headed.

It’s been said that blood is thicker than water …and that money is thicker than blood.  Your mother is not writing the rules that determine when you get care, and when you die.

We’ve long ago moved past the ideal of patient-centered care, and into cost-accounting for the Common Good. That’s dangerous enough.  But we’re so collectivized in risk (while “privatized” in profit) that everyone has a financial hook in you.  We all want you healthy enough to work and pay your share of the burden.  But just as a transmission can’t tolerate a broken gear, the collective We The People (and the bureaucrats who do our dirtiest deeds) will cast you aside when you’re too weak to work.

Proper pain management is expensive, and doesn’t add to the machine’s bottom line.  Prolonging the life of non-productive cogs doesn’t make sense to the Common Good, does it?

And despite what Obama the Chicago politician promises, doctor-assisted-suicide/euthanasia is already in discussion.  Seriously.

If you’re up for reading 1018 pages, you can read it for yourself.  (I’ll make it easy…read the context before and after page 428 here http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090714/aahca.pdf)

And the long run economics are not sane.

For the past hundred years or so, almost every nation on earth has operated on a debt-currency, central banking model that’s, well …a Ponzi Scheme that makes Bernie Madoff look like a petty pickpocket. The true costs of each generation’s debt is deferred into monetary inflation and social re-engineering as a bubble to beat all bubbles.

True, I’d rather go broke on healthcare than on war; and maybe that’s a choice to make. But going broke, in case you haven’t noticed, is a global phenomenon already; and, once again, despite what you’ve been told by the class of people with a 100-year, 100% record of error, we’re just getting started.

The third-party-payer, tax-policy-created healthcare mess we have now must go.  But what I see people debating is whether to put out this fire with dry wood, or gasoline.

As every chapter of human history amply demonstrates, politics isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.

We could fall back into funeral societies if we had to.  Without cars, we could still get around just fine.  I thank God that our politicians haven’t yet proposed food insurance, or a “universal food supply.”

But if we keep letting politicians sell insurance and practice medicine, we’ll see what it’s like to live without health.

RELATED POSTS:
https://wedeclare.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/can-politicians-even-define-health-care/
https://wedeclare.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/a-short-history-of-health-care-let-doctors-be-doctors/

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Being President Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

What if I were to say to my justifiably angry, insulted and hurt wife, “I could have calibrated those words differently”??

What if I were to saunter into work six hours late after hosing up a multimilliondollar project and call it a “teachable moment” for all Americans?

Oh for crying out loud.   Is it so hard for a President to simply say “ I screwed up and I’m sorry?”

The constant twisting of words, arrogance, continual and prideful invocation of his office should convince us, once and for all, that Barack Obama is just another politician.   No different from the previous one, or two, or six.

He is not “The One.”   He is not our “Saviour” or any other lofty abstraction publicly applied to this Chicago machine tool.   He is no better than the least of us.

…Except, of course, that this man has access to armies, cops and nuclear weapons.  And he likes using force and intimidation to get what he wants.

We should humbly, seriously reflect on that.

In fact, this really should be a teachable moment for all Americans.  We should wonder out loud and with our friends; not just why his mistakes are America’s lesson, but also why the violent, failure-doomed ideology of Nero, Stalin, Hitler and Che is “cool.”  Why do bumper stickers, logos and banner waving, cheering crowds of young people promote oppression?  How did hip young people, within just a generation or two, transmogrify their ideology from the 60’s-70’s mistrust of power and armed agents of government, into today’s violent disarmament of citizens to make them submit under authoritarian rule? 

How did that get cool? 

How did the totally voluntary interactions between adults in a free market become a bad thing, while the inherently armed aggression of politics is …hip?

Words are powerful.  Obama knows that.  That’s why he almost never uses any real words; and instead butters our ears shut with fairy-dusted snot.   It was an accident that he actually said something of meaning.

The inconveniencing of his elite friend raised emotions in this typically cold creature, and he said something revealing.  

Words send armies to war.  Words heal bruised feelings.  Words comfort the frightened and frighten the wise.   It’s insidious necromancy that “government” sounds good when it’s the same thing as “politics;” which we all know sounds bad.

Pseudo-smart young kids think that (often because they’re taught to) it’d be cool if “government” were to take a role in every aspect of business, education, health and welfare.   But who’d think it’d be so swell if “bickering and corrupt politicians” were to get their mitts on those things?  This isn’t just words we’re playing with – it’s oppression, slavery, genocide and war we’ve made into catchy slogans.

It’s time for some idol-smashing.   Look hard at that man we’ve elected to be the savior of humanity.   Look hard at the history of “In Politicians We Trust.”  

The collection of swaggering elitists who’ve been both law-breaking and dead-wrong about everything they’ve said for over a hundred years shouldn’t be called “experts” and “your honor.”   They should be called the criminals and liar-fools they are and dealt with accordingly.

Or, what the heck?   Maybe we should all act like that.   Maybe we just keep ignoring the blossoming of crime and injustice we’ve been ignoring for decades (admit it; you’ve ignored the headlines of human traffic/slavery and exploding corruption, rape and murder), and just go with the examples set from the top.   Never say you’re sorry.   Never admit anything, in fact.   Try to never say what you mean or mean what you say.   Make horrible plans that you know are stupid and can’t happen, and watch them come true before your eyes!  

And then, above all, forget about “please” and “The customer comes first.”   It’s every man for himself and Rule Of Tyrants instead of Rule Of Law.   Yee haw!   Grab your guns and leave morality behind; we’re all politicians now!

Maybe I have finally figured out why the bumper stickers say “Power of Pride” instead of, “how about some humility?”  Maybe I more fully understand why we train our kids to be confident instead of competent.

Sheesh.  What have we become?

Ma Hastim

I think that most of us, if we were to think about it and put it to words, would define “maturity” as a degree and kind of self-control, self-sufficiency, self-denial and self-sacrifice that just doesn’t exist among the immature.

Mature people don’t demand much from others, and rather contribute to their loved ones, their employers, and their world.  The most admirably mature people, no matter their status or circumstance, give more than they take.

Truly mature people not only do not need the involuntary-collectivist, nannied authoritarianism that now, unfortunately, exists everywhere on earth, but they also suffer in such a violent climate.

Mature people, I submit, do not exist in sufficient numbers to keep this nation alive.  We have devolved into a nation of prattling, squabbling, violent and ignorant children, and we are thereby almost surely doomed.  We’re blubbering, misbehaving, thoughtless, selfish children, practically begging for a good spanking, and we’re going to get it.

Have a nice day.

Oh, I dunno.  I suppose there is hope.  Immature people can grow up quickly after a good, hard, painful lesson.  And while you’d think we’ve had ample opportunity to wake up and smell pleurosis, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  We are about to get a real whuppin’.  …And from the worst sort of people.

It’s long been known that while the most stupid, inept criminals act alone, get caught and pay for their crimes, there exists a hierarchical law that determines what happens as a criminal learns his craft.

The somewhat better criminals form alliances and layers to both increase their takings, and shield themselves from getting caught.  Still more astute criminals organize into larger quasi government arrangements like the Mafia, Yakuza, Tong, Thugee and Medain.

I’m sure you can see where I’m heading with this.

Yes, the craftiest of the crafty crooks become politicians.  The worst crimes ever, like oppression, slavery, genocide and war, could only be perpetrated by the organized crime we call politics.

But let me be clear about something crucial.  By “politician,” I do not mean the people who win elections and get their affairs of state made gossip in daily papers.  You probably don’t know who’s really running the show here.  In all my years of examining politics from various and increasingly depressing angles, I believe I have met only one of the men who dwells (I did not say “lives” because the man is too evil to call living) behind the curtain.  And I’m sure he’s only a minor minion in our ever-ancient New World Order.

This corruption/theft/gambling/banking system, is, as Jefferson warned, worse than standing armies.  It’s taking us down hard very soon.  Maybe even as far as our oppression, slavery, genocide and war human default state will go.

I’ve tried to think of various schemes around this, and I’m not done trying.  My hope is fading, but it’s still there insomuch as I cannot let it die as long as I’m sending my children into my generation’s failures.

So, here’s my latest proposal:

I propose somebody (not me!) run for President of Texas.

Not Governor of Texas, not President of the USA…President of Texas.

I propose that the platform not be the amended-to-pointlessness Texas Constitution, but the Constitution for the United States of America.

The Texas Constitution provides all the grounds necessary.  Nullification and secession are the stated remedies for federal constitutional breach.  Yet the current Texas member-state Constitution becomes irrelevant in the event of this remedy.  So let’s bypass all the “constitutional convention” rot now circulating among the red herring patriots, since there are precious few in public office smart and/or wholesome enough to craft a sane constitution these days – and just use what’s proven to work better than anything else ever tried – the contract made by adults, for adults…the US Constitution.  This is still the shortest, tightest, best leash on governing power yet devised.

I believe that there are still a sufficient number of adults here that we can get this ball rolling.  We exist.  We need only a little chutzpa.

Let’s replace pride with humility and learn our lessons before the spanking.  Let’s grow past the child and into maturity to our mutual benefit.  Let’s grow up, OK?