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Kunstler: A Paler Shade of Gray

Public Policy

If you seek to know why this country is in so much trouble, check out the lead reports about the health care reform bill in today’s New York Times, WashPo, and CNN. You will find there is no intelligible discussion in any of them as to what’s actually ailing US health care. All you get is play-by-play commentary about which political tag-team is “winning,” as if this were a pro wrestling match — with an overlay of gloat that the Republicans fell oafishly out of the ring in the early rounds.

Of course, an issue even larger than the health care fiasco is this society’s tragic and astounding inability to discuss anything coherently in the public arena, and that might possibly be traced to the failures of education in our time and its effects on the current crop of editors and news producers — people who grew up hearing that reality was just a constructed “narrative” and that one narrative was as good as another.

So, you would surmise from reading the papers (or their web editions) that the health care problem was simply a matter of apportioning insurance coverage. That is what the stage magicians call misdirection. Any way you cut the dynamics of health insurance, as practiced in the USA these days, it is nothing but racketeering, literally a conspiracy between informed players to swindle uninformed “patients.” The debate in congress (and the news media) is just about who gets to be swindled.

This is almost entirely due to the hocus-pocus of pricing for services. For an excellent dissection of all this, I urge you to read Karl Denninger’s comprehensive manifesto, How To Permanently Fix Health Care For All, which he posted one month ago. You have to wonder whether anybody in congress happened to read this, because the debate has been devoid of any of the crucial points that it addresses.

The way it works now, the so-called “providers” (doctors, hospitals) refuse to post the cost of any service, and then charge whatever they feel they can extract, subject to and abstruse and dishonest ceremonial “negotiation” with the insurance company. The result: hospital and insurance executives get paid multi-million dollar salaries, doctors get to drive fine German cars, and the patient gets financially ass-raped, kicked to the curb, and eventually stuffed into the bankruptcy courts.

ObamaCare did nothing to fix this. It just added more victims to the rolls and upped the price of admission for a personal financial ass-raping, so that an insured individual could go to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy and end up getting dunned for thousands of dollars — or even more if one of the hosptial’s favorite cute scams is applied, such as calling in an out-of-network anesthesiologist to knock you unconscious (in which state you are unlikely to inquire whether he/she/zhe is in-network or out).

Under the current system, a hospital can bill you $5,999 to stitch up a cut finger, mitigate a bee-sting, or wind an Ace bandage around a sprained ankle, and you’re sure not to learn the cost-of-treatment until the postman drops off the incomprehensible “explanation of benefits” from the insurance company that states in bold print on top “This Is Not a Bill,” but actually is a report of your own incipient financial ass-raping.

But judging from the news reports this day, none of these issues is actually on the table in the congressional debate. I don’t believe the editors of The New York Times are necessarily “in bed” with the overpaid hospital CEOs and the insurance company fraudsters. They are simply putting up a defense of their previous psychological investment in Democratic Party ideology — in the shibboleth that ObamaCare was unquestionably a great thing because it was created under the magically empowered 44th president.

I can believe that both Democratic and Republican law-makers are not only in bed with the medical fraudsters of all categories, but are performing a particularly odious form of sadomasochistic bondage-and-discipline sex in exchange for payoffs. Note, too, that none of the aforementioned major media have reported what the medical and insurance lobbyists have paid to their rent-boys and doxies in the US capitol. Wouldn’t you like to know?

Kunstler



49 Comments on "Kunstler: A Paler Shade of Gray"

  1. penury on Fri, 5th May 2017 10:16 am 

    It would be wonderful if at lest one of our “elected” leaders would take some interest in this issue. But like they say ‘money talks’ and our bought and paid for clowns in charge are not answerable to the people.

  2. Ghung on Fri, 5th May 2017 10:18 am 

    Meet the new extortion scheme, same as the old extortion scheme.

  3. efarmer on Fri, 5th May 2017 10:21 am 

    At the turn of the 20th century, US Healthcare was a system of community socialism and often barter arbitrated by local physicians with company doctors in the most dangerous industries. The Kaiser in Germany instituted a national policy which American politicians rejected as Socialism at the Goverment level. The Great Depression drove the emergence of Blue Cross and Blue Shield as non profit agencies in states, and the way forward was defined by for profit insurance and health care reducing exposure to increase profit, largely forcing Blue Cross and Blue Shield into competing. All of the European nations who instituted some form of national health care (government run in the UK, government price controlled in Germany with non-profit health care funds) did so before the incredible medical technology and life extension boom took place. The US Congress hung fire on the issue of addressing the fact that pure capitalism does not yield a workable nation health care system with the exception of the Medicare and Medicaid programs to address the fact that capitalistic Health Care drops out of function for retired groups of seniors. In essence, our country missed putting a sensible strategy into play many decades ago and finds an industry that has taken off in scale and scope like other technology industries and represents almost 20% GDP and an insanely diffuse lobbyist and politcal funding juggernaut. Obamacare showed how the Government having missed the prime time to act decades ago lacks the leverage or cohesiveness to do it Federally, and the ACHA shows the penchant of the opposing view to throw it back down to the states and hope the free market which created the monster when left poorly guided or regulated will have a state by state bake off and come up with winners that can be identified and exploited.
    Thus we have a horse that has left the barn generations ago, and has bred in the wild and the choices in Washington have come down to a choice between the Obamacare concept of taxing the wealthy, putting the middle in a no man’s land full of trenches and premium and deductibe land mines, and taxing the welathy, and what seems to be the responding ideology of just punting as much of the conundrum back to the states, washing their hands, and seeing where in the hell it all goes next. The glistening jumbo jet of American capitalistic Health Care will simply fly off to wonderful destinations for those who have the money to ride, and everyone else will go back to an ad hoc version of where we came from in 1900, to find the spotty system of community doctors who barter and flex in response to local needs are as vanished as the little local retailers who also vanished in a landscape littered with big box stores and strip malls. Like the Feds, the States will not be able to fix this at all. The speakasy of the 21st century is shaping up to be a medical clinic closely allied with a clandestine funeral adjunct.

  4. Cloggie on Fri, 5th May 2017 10:29 am 

    Has anybody here ever been billed $6000 for a minor medical service?

    I pay ca. 80 euro per month medical insurance, which is low, because I enjoy “academic privilege”. Academics are basically bores who never run into trouble and sail very prudently through life, that’s why.

    Never had any health problems so far (knock on wood). Three years ago I thought I had heart problems after furious attempts to run a 3000 meters Cooper test (12 minutes running your lungs out) on the treadmill in the gym, which whipped up my pulse to 180. The doctor informed me drily that at my age (125 years, thanks to Bulgarian yogurt) a pulse of 140 was enough and that people, able to get their own pulse up to 180, in principle don’t have heart problems and that I needed to excuse him, because he had more pressing patients to attend.

    Last week had a splinter in my finger and eczema also on two fingers, probably due to wearing cheap Chinese working gloves during the winter, while digging out tree stumps. Both problems were solved quickly. For these services as well as my once in 3 year visit to the doctor to get my ears cleaned with a simple warm water jet, I have paid something like 35 x 12 x 80 = 33,360 euro insurance premium in my life. I’ll probably get much of the money back at the end of my life, when I am 150, again thanks to Bulgarian yogurt.

  5. bobinget on Fri, 5th May 2017 10:56 am 

    All we need do is take the best parts of EVERY
    single payer system in the English speaking world.

    As Canadians and Australians are most like Americans, start there.

    ACA was a construction to AVOID a single payer plan.
    Now that Republicans are devoted to void ACA, “ObamaCare” no longer will stop single payer.

    One year of Republican’s greatest wealth transfer in modern times, (kill off the old, infirm, and poor who if “truth” be told are a drain on society as a whole, then give billions in tax ‘savings’ to those making over $150,000)

    One year of millions losing any but charitable relief,
    will bring out electoral pitchforks.

    I predict reactions will be so dynamic that true Universal Health Care will become reality.

    BTW: If New Zealand has UNIVERSAL Heath Care,
    why won’t they support ours?

  6. Sissyfuss on Fri, 5th May 2017 10:59 am 

    The new alternative to Obamacare pushed by Trump and Ryan will be known as Tryandcare.

  7. Sissyfuss on Fri, 5th May 2017 11:10 am 

    Another fine example of Late Capitalism which grows legion.

  8. Cloud9 on Fri, 5th May 2017 11:46 am 

    My wife went yesterday to have a biopsy done yesterday. She has insurance through the local school board. Under the school board’s insurance, the insurance would pay 20% of the total cost with a thousand dollar deductible. If the insurance was filed, the initial cost would have been $3,800. If she paid cash for the procedure, the cost would be $1,080. She paid cash. The entire system is a racket.

  9. Davy on Fri, 5th May 2017 12:02 pm 

    Rationed care for a world in economic decline is ahead. Everyone above is commenting as if the economy will remain as-is. You know the habituation of it has been so it will be. This situation is coming to Europe and the Anglosphere who are deceptively oblivious of their own dysfunctions. They also pay a significant health care cost but it is buried in their economies differently. The US is the first to begin to self-destruct and the others will not be far behind. It is called the corruption and end of modernism.

    The US system is a mess. Just like the University system that has benefited the rich liberal and conservative alike these two modern edifices are nothing more than pork troughs. The size of the administrative overhead has exploded in both interrelated areas along with all those brand new buildings. The debt that has accumulated for student loans is a testament to this as well as the absurd premiums and heath care bills we get.

    This will end maybe slowly or abruptly in a generalized poverty for all. The system will bifurcate and all kinds of irrational things will happen. We will have economic abandonment and dysfunctional systems combine in a destructive decay of physical infrastructure and a tearing of the social fabric. The welfare system will be pushed to it limits and eventually break down. A safety net everyone takes for granted will be hollowed.

    This is coming and is likely because so many trends at so many levels point to it. Meanwhile the status quo ticks on and most people including many here continue to embrace the comfort of the consistency of the status quo. Their hopes and dreams and those of their friends and family likewise. In fact on up the ladder to politics and business this habituation dwells. It is called denial and denial creates delusional responses. Combine a global society of delusional responses and you have a dysfunctional species rapping and pillaging itself and its planetary home. Health care is just a pimple on that ass so don’t get too hot and bothered about it. Much worse is ahead than ACA and its spawnings.

  10. Plantagenet on Fri, 5th May 2017 12:33 pm 

    Under the Obamacare system you don’t have to sign up for insurance until you get sick. There are so many exemptions that you can sign up anytime, get your medical treatment, and then stop paying until the next time you get sick. As a result millions of young people never signed up, Obamacare rates are skyrocketing, and the system is failing.

    Now Rs are proposing that people who don’t sign up in enrollment periods will have to pay a 30% premium over normal rates to sign up when they get sick, while Ds are screaming about it.

    I don’t get it—why don’t Ds support a policy that would help get more young people into the insurance pools to lower healthcare costs? This is a small to Scare that would help lower healthcare costs.

    Cheers!

  11. paulo1 on Fri, 5th May 2017 12:33 pm 

    Cloggie,

    Enjoy the healthy days because crap befalls even the healthiest of us. I have torn out a knee…work and sports…herniated discs…work related, appendix, broken bones and finally a brush with cancer. Go figure. My BP is very low, as is cholesteral, and I am active and healthy…but shit happens. Glad to be Canadian. Our total healthcare cost is 50%/GDP of the US system. I have absolutely no complaints, whatsoever. My South African GP seems to like living here and is well compensated. Our BC Med premium is $46/month, slated to drop by 50% next year.

    The insurance racket down south is no more than a criminal skim for insurance employees and shareholders. It infects under the guise of ‘free enterprise capitalism’. It is neither. Tony Soprano would be proud.

    I talked to a Doctor a few years ago who worked under both systems. He said when he worked in the US he saw about 1/2 as many patients per day because he spent 2X the effort and time jumping through his insurance company hoops. He now practices up here in Alert bay, a Native community on the west coast. He seemd very content working here.

    My wife contracted type 1 diabetes at age 11. Our insulin and supply bill is $300/month through Green Shield, which also insludes our BC Med fees, a modest dental plan, eyeglasses, etc. We are very grateful and most appreciative of those who fought the health care battles ahead of us. (God Bless Tommy Douglas).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Douglas

  12. Apneaman on Fri, 5th May 2017 12:34 pm 

    clog,

    “Look at your body— A painted puppet, a poor toy Of jointed parts ready to collapse, A diseased and suffering thing With a head full of false imaginings. —The Dhammapada”

    Woo Wee I luvs me some Buddha

  13. Midnight Oil on Fri, 5th May 2017 1:05 pm 

    Wabi Sabi…in the end we get served a dish of that

    Wabi-sabi is a concept in traditional Japanese aesthetics constituting a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

  14. deadlykillerbeaz on Fri, 5th May 2017 1:42 pm 

    The real deal is rip-off healthcare.

    RCA, the Rip-off Care Act.

    If you can’t figure out by now that America is in rip-off mode, you’re as dumb as they come.

    It’s as good as it gets.

  15. John Norris on Fri, 5th May 2017 2:17 pm 

    Cloud9: biopsy cost in UK: $0.

    Also UK, in the last six months I’ve had 2 ultrasounds and one magic eye (don’t ask). Total cost: $0.

    God bless America…

  16. John Norris on Fri, 5th May 2017 2:20 pm 

    PS: I did go private for dental: $35 per month. UK.

  17. DerHundistlos on Fri, 5th May 2017 3:48 pm 

    Kunstler failed to mention that during AFA negotiations, the Democratic position was to eliminate the insurance companies and institute a single payor system, but in order to obtain Republican votes, the insurance companies had to stay involved. With the insurance companies eliminated, the savings would be substantial.

  18. DerHundistlos on Fri, 5th May 2017 3:54 pm 

    @ Planters Wart

    You see what happens when your only source of information is right-wing BS sights?

    Your comment is COMPLETELY FALSE. What you term, “waiting until you get sick” is known as a pre-existing condition. You are spinning the truth to make the D’s position sound ridiculous when the fact is that the D’s are insisting that the ACA include coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. The Republicans goal is to eliminate the pre-existing condition mandate.

    You are such a FUCKING LIAR.

  19. Boat on Fri, 5th May 2017 4:13 pm 

    Plant,

    If you don’t have insurance and don’t sign up for Obama care you will be fined $600. It is not a voluntary program. Many that are healthy will pay the fine and go it alone because Obama care and public insurance companies plans are not cheap.
    If ICE reviewed emergency rooms non payments there would be few illegal immigrants left. This is where they get their health care along with many others who opt out of health care.

  20. peakyeast on Fri, 5th May 2017 4:15 pm 

    Any civilized society should have free healthcare for everybody. The US is one of the richest societies, but certainly not very civilized.

    It’s everybody for himself against everybody else in so many respects – and nobody trusts anybody.

  21. Davy on Fri, 5th May 2017 4:21 pm 

    Der hund you should really reflect on your above comment. That was mean calling plant a f’ing liar.

  22. Davy on Fri, 5th May 2017 4:23 pm 

    Peak, you call Europe civilized? I think maybe you should reflect on your comment. You are being overly generous to yourself.

  23. Plantagenet on Fri, 5th May 2017 4:54 pm 

    Just today Ocare insurers in Maryland announced they want a 50% hike in insurance premiums for 2018.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-05/obamacare-death-spiral-maryland-insurer-seeks-50-premium-increase-2018

    I hate to break it to folks who think Ocare is so great, but after a few years of 25-50% rate increases, its not such a great deal anymore. Especially when you take into account the huge deductibles on many Ocare plans.

    Do the math, dudettes. A rate increase of 50% year-over-year is catastrophic for working class folks who earn a bit too much for subsidies.. They can’t afford the Ocare premiums anymore.

    Cheers!

  24. peakyeast on Fri, 5th May 2017 5:10 pm 

    @Davy: No you are talking about Europe.

  25. george on Fri, 5th May 2017 5:11 pm 

    First they drug you , then they …

  26. Apneaman on Fri, 5th May 2017 5:12 pm 

    “For a large and growing segment of the population, there truly is no hope. I’m less surprised by the rise in the suicide rate than the fact that it isn’t even higher than it is. I’m more amazed at what makes people go on in this vicious, hellish, Social Darwinist dystopia.

    Furthermore, I argued that this was by design. I argued that eliminationism is an intentional, albeit unstated, policy of the ruling class of this country. From their perspective, it really would be more convenient, all things considered, if the excess population, would, you know, just sort of take care of themselves and not cause too much bother on their way out.”

    http://hipcrimevocab.com/2016/09/08/the-dying-americans-2/

  27. J-Gav on Fri, 5th May 2017 5:21 pm 

    General – Peak/Davy – health-care in Europe is hardly ‘free, not even close. I live here, I know. If you don’t have expensive supplementary insurance, you’re in big trouble whenever anything untoward happens.

    More specifically – Kunstler is right, the American healthcare system is such an assaholian conjuction of liars, scamsters, fraudsters and other rake-off criminals that it really isn’t funny at all.

  28. peakyeast on Fri, 5th May 2017 5:29 pm 

    I write about free healthcare and civilized society and everybody talks about Europe.

    Besides: Europe is not one country with one system. Not even close.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8pnec4Hxps

    Its obviously not just her….

  29. DerHundistlos on Fri, 5th May 2017 5:37 pm 

    Davy, you don’t take criticism well, I see. BTW, there’s a huge difference between opinion and a bald faced lie.

  30. Davy on Fri, 5th May 2017 5:48 pm 

    “Davy, you don’t take criticism well, I see. BTW, there’s a huge difference between opinion and a bald faced lie.”

    Look in the mirror will you! Who says opinions are not lies or the person making the opinion that is living a lie believing his opinion is not a lie. Der Hund, try again.

  31. Davy on Fri, 5th May 2017 5:51 pm 

    “I write about free healthcare and civilized society and everybody talks about Europe.”

    Get a grip Peak, nothing is free that is the problem with you Europeans you think you are so special you even believe you have a free safety net and this makes you civilized. You guys need to get your head out of your lower end.

  32. Davy on Fri, 5th May 2017 5:53 pm 

    J-Gav, well said

  33. DerHundistlos on Fri, 5th May 2017 7:33 pm 

    Ape, interesting article. From 1945 through Carter, GDP grew with 78% of the new wealth distributed among 90% of the population. From Reagan until now, 100% of GDP growth was distributed among the top 5% only.

  34. newfie on Fri, 5th May 2017 8:27 pm 

    America is a failed experiment in the accumulation of private wealth. Everything is money. Everything. Even God is Money in the USA.

  35. Your overlords want you to produce or die on Fri, 5th May 2017 8:38 pm 

    So just door you fucking losers. No one cares.

  36. Your overlords want you to produce or die on Fri, 5th May 2017 8:39 pm 

    Die even… Fucking auto spell. It should site too

  37. Your overlords want you to produce or die on Fri, 5th May 2017 8:41 pm 

    Die. Die. Die… OK, three times in a row. Goddamn fucking auto spell.

    I hate technology.

  38. DMyers on Fri, 5th May 2017 8:43 pm 

    The American health care system is incurable.

    I agree with K on all points. AHCA was never any good at all. What happened was that all the Obama believers believed his rhetoric from before the fact and believed he must have complied with that rhetoric after the fact, in spite of the fact itself being otherwise. Health insurance is not affordable under O’care. O’care did not even begin to provide a real solution to health care access or its hyper-expense.

    The only constructive way to consider the health care debacle is in the light of how we got here. That is, in short, health insurance itself. Over time, health insurance, a deep pocket, took the place of pay as you go, for small pockets. The point is obvious. Health insurance has fueled a treacherously vulnerable high-tech system, and it has fueled a nightmarish inflation in health care costs to the consumer.

    So, now health care is so expensive that no one without the aid of insurance can afford it. This has been a simple evolution, and anyone with half a brain could have predicted this very outcome at the start.

    For that, it is now a problem that cannot be solved. At this point, even the deep pockets can’t afford it. Hospitals are places you go for a cure and treatment, but they are also places of peril to your health.

    This system requires constant cash infusion. If that ends, the system will collapse rapidly. We’ll be left with nothing but a mid-wife, an expired bottle of aspirin, a butcher knife, a pair of pliers, and, hopefully, some rags and a pot of boiling water.

    There is probably a time coming soon, when the payer of last resort can’t pay. So, keep on hand the above-mentioned articles. You’ll be amazed at what the average person can do with these simplest of tools, to save a life in a moment of crisis.

  39. DerHundistlos on Fri, 5th May 2017 9:07 pm 

    The states that refuse to expand Medicaid are denying health care to the needy and paying about $2 billion for the privilege. Try to comprehend the kind of people who do this.

    The residents of every state pay taxes to fund Obamacare, whether they like it or not. Residents of the states that refuse to expand Medicaid are paying about $50 billion in Obamacare taxes each year, and about $20 billion of that is for Medicaid expansion. Instead of flowing back into their states, this money is going straight to Washington DC, never to be seen again. So they’re willing to let $20 billion go down a black hole and pay $2 billion extra in order to prevent Obamacare from helping the needy. It’s hard to fathom, isn’t it?

    Red States Spent $2 Billion in 2015 to Screw the Poor (Mother Jones)

    Last week, McClatchy documented the unnecessary pain being inflicted on red state residents by their elected Republican representatives…Roughly 260 million Americans (roughly 85 percent) already have health insurance provided by their employers, the government or through individual policies they purchased. In places like Oregon, Colorado, New York, California and other, mostly Democratic states, governors and state legislators accepted the expansion of Medicaid to provide free health insurance for those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty (FPL). For those earning between 138 and 400 percent of the FPL, the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies will help them purchase insurance in the private market. But in the states where Republicans said “no” to the expansion of Medicaid, the picture is much different. As the AP explained the coverage gap:

    Nearly 2 in 3 uninsured people who would qualify for health coverage under an expansion of Medicaid live in states which won’t broaden the program or have not yet decided on expansion.

    The resulting Republican body count is staggering. Thanks to the GOP’s rejection of Medicaid expansion, 1.3 million people in Texas, 1 million in Florida, 534,000 in Georgia and 267,000 in Missouri will be ensnared in the coverage gap.
    Health Insurance “Coverage Gap” Coming To A Red State Near You (Crooks and Liars)

    That’s right, Republican governors are blowing a hole in their budget just to remove social protections for the poor. Often times, “unaffordability” is cited as a justification, but clearly this is not at work here. It’s pure ideology. But what is that ideology? Here’s more detail: American conservatives for the past several decades have shown a remarkable hostility to poor people in our country. The recent effort to slash the SNAP food stamp program in the House; the astounding refusal of 26 Republican governors to expand Medicaid coverage in their states — depriving millions of poor people from access to Medicaid health coverage; and the general legislative indifference to a rising poverty rate in the United States — all this suggests something beyond ideology or neglect.

    The indifference to low-income and uninsured people in their states of conservative governors and legislators in Texas, Florida, and other states is almost incomprehensible. Here is a piece in Bustle that reviews some of the facts about expanding Medicaid coverage: In total, 26 states have rejected the expansion, including the state of Mississippi, which has the highest rate of uninsured poor people in the country. Sixty-eight percent of uninsured single mothers live in the states that rejected the expansion, as do 60 percent of the nation’s uninsured working poor.

    These attitudes and legislative efforts didn’t begin yesterday. They extend back at least to the Reagan administration in the early 1980s…

    Most shameful, many would feel, is the attempt to reduce food assistance in a time of rising poverty and deprivation. It’s hard to see how a government or party could justify taking food assistance away from hungry adults and children, especially in a time of rising poverty. And yet this is precisely the effort we have witnessed in the past several months in revisions to the farm bill in the House of Representatives. In a recent post Dave Johnson debunks the myths and falsehoods underlying conservative attacks on the food stamp program in the House revision of the farm bill.
    This tenor of our politics indicates an overt hostility and animus towards poor people. How is it possible to explain this part of contemporary politics on the right? What can account for this persistent and unblinking hostility towards poor people?
    Why a war on poor people? (Understanding Society)

    Let’s restate this to be clear to make sure the point is not lost: these states are willing to lose money in order to make sure their poor die quicker. Clear enough? And we’re not even talking about things like the outright cold-blooded murder of the homeless by police, the breaking up of homeless encampments, the mass incarceration, and return of debtors’ prisons, and so on. It’s expensive to be poor in America. We do everything by the Matthew Effect from jobs to education, and wonder why class mobility is nonexistent. Yet we’re still told that everyone wants to be an American, that it’s the land of opportunity, and that things have literally never been better.

    Thrown in jail for being poor: the booming for-profit probation industry (Guardian)

    Much of the well-funded efforts of plutocrats and their allies has been to repeal the Affordable Care Act (which was designed by Right-wing think tanks), not to reform it or replace it with something more effective, but to return to the predatory status quo ante. Now, businessmen may be greedy, short-sighted and sociopathic, but they are not stupid. They surely know that the American System is wildly more expensive than any other place on earth, but they are willing to lose billions of dollars in profit just to make sure people don’t get health care! Think about that. A European friend said to me once that he didn’t understand why American businesses seemed to want sick, insecure employees who either don’t have access to health care, or are worried about going broke trying to pay for it. It seemed totally irrational to him. But it’s only irrational if you don’t understand the underlying ideology of eliminationism. Some societies actually want to kill off their own people, as Nazi Germany and other tragic examples have shown.

  40. deadlykillerbeaz on Fri, 5th May 2017 10:33 pm 

    Attila the Hun received the equivalent of 1 million dollars in gold each year just to not attack the Romans. The Emperor paid the price. That would be double eagles in gold, 1,000,000 dollars worth of double eagles is 50,000 minted twenty dollar 90 percent gold metal content coins. Some money. 1200 USD per Troy ounce, then times 50,000 amounts to 60,000,000 dollars.

    It was cheap to keep Attila happy. If Attila wasn’t happy, it became expensive.

    Late capitalism in the fifth century courtesy of Attila.

    If you didn’t pay Attila enough gold, there was a high price to pay. It was extortion only when Attila wasn’t getting his fair share.

    The first real healthcare act.

  41. Wildbourgman on Sat, 6th May 2017 12:19 am 

    Obama-care, Medicare, Social security, if they are so good make them voluntary.

    IF they are so spectacular let Americans decide if they want to pay into those programs of not. If they are not Ponzi schemes people will be lined up to join them without the threat of force.

  42. Dooma on Sat, 6th May 2017 12:40 am 

    Rich people of the US will NEVER subsidize health care for African Americans or Latinos. They would rather throw the money away.

  43. joe on Sat, 6th May 2017 12:41 am 

    Healthcare in America is accepted orthodoxy that people should suffer if they are not rich. The poor should suffer and be seen to suffer as punishment for not being rich, it is a most unChristian sentiment. The worse part is that 90 miles off Florida is maybe one of the best healthcare systems on Earth in terms of access and cost/benefit. As with everything it seems Americans need to examine the changes needed, but the ruling classes of America have it so good as leaders of the worlds biggest empire that they will resist all changes and the false dichotomy of Rep/Dem will prevail.

  44. Boat on Sat, 6th May 2017 3:04 am 

    If you did not treat any person that could not pay in full the price of health care would drop dramatically. When you treat chronic health care issues in emergency rooms the cost is dramatically higher. But that is the only place a poor person can get treatment. So what does the US do? Even in times of high unemployment the gov bring in hundreds of thousands of poor people every year and dump their health care needs on emergency rooms. No Dem or Rep plan addresses this problem.

  45. peakyeast on Sat, 6th May 2017 4:08 am 

    @Davy: No – what I think is that it is depressing that even though US has had the most wealth of all nations on earth they still didnt get to have a civilized society.

    A society that takes care of their poor and sick. Where you feel safe enough to leave your child at a school birthday party without having one parent there all the time. E.t.c.

    If there is any place this should and could have happened it was in the most affluent places.

    I do not care about nationalities – I care what is right, decent.

    The wages doctors and health people get are obviously way too high. As well as their profits. This is because there is something they are psychopaths that extort as much as possible from people who do not have a choice. Death is not a choice for most.

    Healthcare should be provided totally free to remove this psyhopath tendency there is and to remove something that is similar to extortion at gunpoint.

  46. DerHundistlos on Sat, 6th May 2017 4:11 am 

    @ Wildbourgman

    Then what happens to those Americans who decline SS, Medicare, health insurance and become sick and/or have not saved sufficiently for retirement? Let them eat cake, I suppose.

    Pure nonsense.

  47. Davy on Sat, 6th May 2017 6:31 am 

    “@Davy: No – what I think is that it is depressing that even though US has had the most wealth of all nations on earth they still didnt get to have a civilized society.”
    Peak, you don’t know about our society and who are you to feel your self-righteous bullshit and point fingers. We are a third world and a 1st world country. We do things the way we do. We have plenty that is civilized and uncivilized. Who are you to comment on us? When Europe does away with its uncivilized behavior and starts giving its affluence back to the third world then come back here and talk to me. You spend your days pointing your hypocritical fingers at the US. You are just another dumbass anti-American who is smug in his own world that is a mess. Maybe that is why you are here. Your world is falling apart so you come here to point fingers for it. In fact Your Europe is the reason this world is a mess. Every bad “ism” invented and in use today came from Europe. Denmark is a little place the US is a continent with many different aspects. Learn some scale.

  48. Cloggie on Sat, 6th May 2017 6:42 am 

    In fact Your Europe is the reason this world is a mess. Every bad “ism” invented and in use today came from Europe.

    So why does the whole world wants to be in Europe or in its American offshoot, if it is such a “mess”?

  49. Davy on Sat, 6th May 2017 7:22 am 

    Clog, own your people’s sins. Europe and the US have raped the world. Our system of government and economics has given us “this”. What is “this”? “This” is a destroyed planetary system and a human global civilization ready to implode. This is the result of European ideas and history. Yes, the US is the worst of your spawnings.

    That said we are here and now so crying over the past does little good. Going forward we should show responsibility to the rest of the world for these past sins. That said it does not mean turning over our world to the Chinese to do the same. This is a complicated picture for individuals because there is really nothing any of us can do and the powers within globalism are set in their ways. There will be no peace going forward in this decaying world because the pie is shrinking. People and nations are going to sink into their tribal ways and fight for the last crumbs.

    It is likely the US and Europe will remain allies out of necessity. Your Europe has many wonderful aspects that it will work hard to maintain. The US has many also. Yet, the fact remains we are so far into complexity overshoot considering the reality of planetary limits. We are not going to maintain what we have nor even properly downsize and degrowth. What is coming is disorderly and chaotic. Our systems are not capable of an organized retreat beyond a certain point. There are minimums and thresholds that once beyond there is only collapse. It is not if it is when. Maybe we have years but our ways of life are dated.

    My comment to you is strictly one of clarification. Our European system has destroyed the world so in this respect we should not be bragging. Since we are living so well in relation to so many there is a moral responsibility to try to reduce the pain and suffering ahead. If the rest of the world will also agree to powerdown. If not then screw them blame or not. Since this is not going to happen it is likely a matter of survival that we stick together as long as possible.

    There are no answers to existential catch 22’s but there is acknowledgment of the truth. If you start from the truth, leave denial and lies then proper wisdom rises to the top. I have said this numerous times wisdom will have to come from the individual and small groups because nations states are now obsolete. Their narrative of meaning is bankrupt. Our globalism will self-destruct and with it many of the artificial nations states that inhabit this planet because of globalism.

    I hope I am wrong and your happy ending fantasy is right. I hope your renewable world comes to fruition in a transcendence of planetary limits. Maybe the extremes of climate change are a hoax as you say. Yet, the truth is telling me these things are worse than what many scientist are even willing to admit mainly because the horror of that admission. There is some bad shit ahead for all of us. For me that means honesty. I believe that hospices and lifeboats are in order not rockets to mars. We need to turn away from increasing complexity of an already over complex modernism and face the harsh winds of decline.

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