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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/12/19

Time to Ban the Profit Motive From the Healthcare System

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Republished from The Greanville Post

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Healthcare is a never-ending topic in capitalist nations, even those that seem to boast excellent systems with universal access guaranteed to all. Such is the case in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Britain, for example (the latter being one of the first in the postwar period to inaugurate a really socialized system, the NHS), and also Canada, which uses a more conventional hybrid approach, part capitalist, part state. This kind of endless fretting and argumentation is inherent in any deeply class divided society that, after much delay, chooses to embrace a socialist idea to solve a major problem. Socialist islands are in constant danger when floating in a capitalist ocean. On this aspect of the issue, more below.

As most of us know, the US tops all nations for the degree of rancor underlining the discussion, the artificially idiotic complexity of its historical "solutions" (i.e., Obamacare) and the astonishing degree of disinformation permeating the topic, not surprising since the corporate media are also part of the billionaires' club controlling the US economy and all its crucial institutions.

Below, I have reproduced Al Klein's contribution, one of the best replies we could find among the many submitted to this provocatively stupid question on Quora (something common to detonate a high response rate). The writer presents in ironic tones a good picture of what Medicare is all about, and its solid socialist DNA. Ditto for the VA, one of the best socialized medicine systems around, despite the constant badmouthing by the media.

Too bad Mr Klein forgot to mention that Medicare remains terrific (when compared to the still prevalent private-insurance Darwinian system in place), despite the fact it was enacted with deliberate flaws, like that man-made, not God-ordained 80% cap to coverage, which vultures in the "supplemental insurance" racket, like United Healthcare, and the AARP itself, have used to great effect to line their pockets even more. Indeed, it didn't have to be that way at all, as proven by many countries (capitalist countries, mind you) that never even considered such a ridiculous and treacherous clause. The fact that this outrageous built-in flaw is so little noticed by most Americans, let alone protested, is testament to their passivity and confusion, and to their lack of genuine leadership. Watch the TV spot below, and observe how these hustlers make it sound like the Medicare "up to 80% coverage" is something like a divine rule instead of an arbitrary piece of rotten legislation that should have been fixed ages ago:

Incidentally, contrary to what appears to be its stated mission, to help senior citizens, for the most part AARP has done absolutely nothing to help in this regard, in fact it continues to profit mightily from this flaw by allying itself with the insurance racquet.

Meanwhile, as US capitalism and its imperialist incubus enter at last their phase of decline, and the ruling class looks for more ways to inject "austerity" among the hoi polloi while still enjoying the protection of its absurdly bloated and expensive military, the muscle they use to preserve their lucrative hegemony around the globe, the choir from the bought politicians and pundits grows louder in their insistence to "fix" Medicare and Social Security "entitlements" that, they claim, we can't afford, an absurd statement in a nation that spends a trillion dollars a year on "defence" against enemies it literally invents. Drastic measures are in order, say these experts, including privatisation as the favorite option. Man, how predictable these charlatans are.

If there is no crisis, let's create one

Since Medicare and Social Security in the US, and the NHS in Britain, as well as similar programs in other nations, are deeply esteemed and embraced by the vast majority of the population, the ruling class is working hard to make them look inefficient and financially unsustainable.

Unsustainable by design

The Judases in Congress and media clamoring for reform in the name of a non-existent threat of social security financial collapse base themselves on dubious long-term projections that, theoretically, might pose a small risk to the SSA payouts. The crux of the matter is in (again) the artificial and ludicrously low arbitrary cap Congress set up for social security taxes on earnings, an obvious bow to the rich who certainly did not want to "subsidise" their less fortunate countrymen, even though social security checks would also be higher for those who would contribute more.

It follows that the obvious cure to this fabricated crisis is simply to lift the cap on earnings entirely. In 2018, the Social Security wage base was $128,400. That means that you'll have to pay Social Security payroll taxes only up to $128,400, which works out to a maximum of 6.2 percent of that figure, or $7,960.80. With much fanfare this was raised for 2019 to a maximum taxable of $132,900. Anyone can see the umpteen billions that the treasury is losing each year by embracing this idiotic tax template of no benefit to anyone, except the uber pampered 1%.

Tripping Medicare, Social Security, the NHS and other social safety net programs
As mentioned above, for pretty obvious reasons social safety programs enjoy enormous support in every country where they have been enacted. In the late 1980s, toward the end of her disastrous reign, Margaret Thatcher, as vicious a reactionary as any seen in Britain before or after, triggered a firestorm when she seemed intent on tweaking the NHS out of existence. Arrogant by nature, Thatcher miscalculated, she had simply gone too far. A paper published in 1989 by two social scientists commenting on opinion shifts in Britain in regard to healthcare, noted that,

In the United Kingdom, the public is generally more accepting of changes in policy than are the populations of many other countries. But that docility often changes when it comes to the subject of Britain's national Health Service (NHS). Indeed, politicians of every persuasion in the United Kingdom seem duty- bound not to be seen as attacking the NHS. The NHS became a particular source of controversy in 1989 because British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher proposed some major reforms through a White Paper that was tabled in January"(Robert J. Blendon and Karen Donelan, Health Affairs, Winter 1989).

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Patrice Greanville is founding editor and publisher of The Greanville Post (www.greanvillepost.com).

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6 people are discussing this page, with 11 comments  Post Comment


911TRUTH

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Time to Ban the Profit Motive From the Healthcare System

That should have been done when they created that scam Medicare that only covers 80% of your medical costs, which can still lead to bankruptcies.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 at 4:44:21 PM

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shad williams

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All of us should have noticed by now that when it comes to allocating the costs of society, if those cost detract from the corporate bottom line they are externalized to kingdom come, killing everything in their wakes, including the future value of a fiat currency that becomes worthless to able to bear mitigating the deferred externalities.

Governments, especially the US as well as other western governments acting as the hand maiden of the wealthy are being stripped of allocations to the public via paid legislators, corrupt executive managers and a lawless judiciary.

Pitchforks are the solution.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 at 8:38:07 PM

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Dana Clark

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Having worked in healthcare for almost 25 years now as a laboratory scientist (Immunohematology specialty) I have seen the increase in ER visits as a main driver of the overall cost of healthcare, at least on a local level. The EMTALA rules enacted by congress in '86 requires people presenting at an ER to receive emergency care regardless of ability to pay. There are clauses in the rules stipulating that the ER physician must stabilize the patient if they are having a true emergency and it is up to the doctor to determine this status. The problem is that many hospitals, especially those in rural locations, do not have a Urgent care type facility that these patients might be directed to for appropriate care (and this practice currently is illegal according to EMTALA and should be changed by act of Congress). This in turn makes the ER doc reluctant to call the diagnosis after triaging as non-emergent. Their ass is on the line if they make the wrong call, and docs that designate too many ER visits as non-emergent are scrutinized in front of the med staff, consisting of board members and fellow physicians.

As a result the hospital eats a big portion of the costs, Wikipedia says up to 55% of all patients nationwide don't pay for their emergency room care. This puts enormous pressure on hospitals to raise costs elsewhere, putting the pressure on those that pay fully and on insurance companies. I have many more thoughts on this issue and should probably write an essay about them.

Thanks

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 at 6:21:05 PM

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Dana Clark

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When everybody in the US is covered under single payer insurance will they wait 30 or so days to see their PCP for non emergent care or will they go to a crowded ER to see a doctor that day? There are a lot of unanswered questions about single payer that should be asked. I am all for it, don't get me wrong but I foresee many problems with it also.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 at 6:41:18 PM

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Devil's Advocate

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(I'm Canadian.) How do things work right now, in the U.S.? What kind of turnarounds, etc. are you up against at present?

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 at 8:10:21 PM

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Hello from Oregon

I'm not sure I know what you mean by turnarounds. I'm no expert on healthcare policy, I see the rural aspect of it and people use the hell out of our ER. So much so that employees have lost benefits to make up for the shortfall in funds. Most ER visitors are on Medicare and OHP, the Oregon equivalent of Medicare, and the payouts are not keeping us in the black. People just don't have the money for healthcare and most are seen at clinics by FNP's. Our health district is heavy on use of FNP's at the clinics rather than doctors.

We only have a few years until the Cascadia Tsunami wipes us anyway. Haha. If you live in BC you may know what I mean.

Submitted on Friday, Sep 13, 2019 at 12:28:41 AM

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I was referring to your own question:

"...will they wait 30 or so days to see their PCP for non emergent care or will they go to a crowded ER to see a doctor that day?"

I was just wondering what the answer to that is today.

Submitted on Friday, Sep 13, 2019 at 5:11:25 PM

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911TRUTH

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This is the future of American 'healthcare', but you'll have to leave the country to get it.

How the Cayman Islands could become a new health care destination

This patient would have paid us about $2,500 to about $3,000, but in the U.S., an operation of this nature would cost, I guess, more, anything from $70,000, $100,000.

PBS Newshour

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 at 9:19:09 PM

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Submitted on Friday, Sep 13, 2019 at 10:31:53 PM

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PS:


http://www.pnhp.org/news/2000/march/insurers_are_major_i.php


And: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1448443


**** More Insurer Investments in Cigarette Manufacturing--this from 2009:
http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/june/health_life_insurer.php

**** Top For-Profit Insurers Invest in Other Health-Harming Industries...including Tobacco Pesticide Manufacturers: These are just two...
MetLife: http://www.secinfo.com/d14D5a.u3nht.htm
CIGNA: http://www.secinfo.com/dWcPa.5c.htm

Submitted on Friday, Sep 13, 2019 at 10:57:37 PM

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OUCH, G.D.

Submitted on Friday, Sep 13, 2019 at 11:14:45 PM

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