“Dad, I’ve got to do something”, begins a panicky letter from one of the children.
“When I changed my job status, I lost my health insurance. The best policy I can find is $550 a month. What should I do?”
“Don’t buy the insurance”, we suggested. “It’s a waste of money. Just don’t get sick”, we added helpfully.
Yesterday, stocks continued to fall – down 138 on the Dow to under 15,000. Gold dropped a little too, but not much.
What does it mean? We don’t know. But consider this: there are two ways a government can rip off its citizens – force and fraud. Healthcare uses both.
Back in the time of Genghis, Attila, Caesar and Napoleon, things were simpler. People were conquered. They submitted. ‘Insurgents’ were disposed of. Houses were looted. Maidens were deflowered. Those were the good ol’ days – before health insurance!
But even in the oldest of days, a man on his own couldn’t keep a whole population under his heel. He needed help. Thus were born the ruling elites, sharing power among at least enough people to control the armed forces. There are governors of all sorts, but if they don’t control military and police, they will soon be governed by them.
The beauty of democracy is that it defrauds the average person into believing that he has been taken into the ruling elite. He thinks that ultimately, he decides what government does. Naturally, he deserves a share in the spoils.
All government is an exercise in larceny. All governments take things away from some people – power, money, dignity, freedom – in order to bestow favours on the ruling elite and its clients. The masses willingly and eagerly go along, if they think they can get something out of it – that is, someone else’s property.
The argument in Congress, which when last we checked was holding up the whole parade, was over how free ‘healthcare’ is administered. Approximately $2.2trn is spent annually in America – more, per capita than in any other nation – on health-related consumption.
The fight is over who gets the money and who gets the care. It is a zombie war, in other words, with some combatants, perhaps, less zombified than others. As far as we know, no one suggests the obvious solution – let people decide for themselves.
In order to win elections, the feds need to give as well as take. So, in addition to public safety and national security, they offer free healthcare, free education, free highways, and free elections, to determine who gets what.
As near as we can tell, most of the money spent on healthcare is simply wasted. Just compare life expectancies. France has a nationalised system. It costs considerably less per person than the US system.
Bill Bonner on markets, economics & the madness of crowds
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Switzerland, Britain, Holland, Germany – all the developed countries have healthcare programmes partly or wholly run by the feds. All spend substantially less than the US and all have about the same or better life expectancies.
Taking a more extreme example, Cuba spends only a fraction as much as the US, yet it too has life expectancy rates that are not much different.
Here again, you might be tempted to say the feds have failed to create an efficient healthcare system in the US. In that, you would certainly be correct, but you would miss the larger point: the US feds succeeded better than any of their rivals in transferring wealth from the dumbbell public to their wily favourites in the insurance and healthcare industries.
And wait, what’s this?
Researchers at the London School of Economics, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute at Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine compared the effectiveness of exercise versus drugs on mortality across four conditions (secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation of stroke, treatment of heart failure and prevention of diabetes).
Secondary prevention refers to treating patients with existing disease before it causes significant illness.
They analysed the results of 305 randomised controlled trials involving 339,274 individuals and found no statistically detectable differences between exercise and drug interventions for secondary prevention of heart disease and prevention of diabetes.
Well, that’s great news, isn’t it dear reader? Forget the pills. Just go out and take a walk. That should save the nation hundreds of billions, right?
Oh, dear reader, you crack us up. You’ve missed the point again. The idea is to transfer money, not help people become healthier. If the feds really wanted a healthy population and an efficient healthcare system, they’d cease offering healthcare services to anyone who was overweight, for example, or to anyone who couldn’t do at least ten push-ups.
Get it. They’d encourage people not to need healthcare.
As the system works today, few people will choose exercise over drugs. When you exercise, you pay the ‘costs’ yourself. You have to spend the time, you have to do the work. But when you get ‘free’ drugs from Medicaid, someone else pays.
Get used to it: more drugs, more drones, and more Fed credit-pushing drivel.
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