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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/4/19

What Can Be Done to Fix America's Ghastly Health Care Train Wreck? Part 3 Creaking under its Weight

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In this part, I sum up the problems with America's health care system. Please feel free to add anything you are aware of that I've missed. As I go to press with this, I note that Jon Helievig has just published an article, "The Oligarch Takeover of US Pharma and Healthcareand the Resulting Human Crisis," examining the monopolization and concentration of ownership of US Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industries, tracing the ownership back to two companies, Vanguard and Blackrock, one of which partially owns the other. He ultimately comes to the same sorry conclusion I have in this article: a Soviet-style implosion US healthcare is probably inevitable.

John Michael Greer recently wrote, "Democracy turns into plutocracy as soon as the well-to-do learn to use money to manipulate the political system"this leads to the rise of clueless elites too busy lining their pockets to notice what the policies that enrich them are doing to the rest of society"Successful societies thrive because their governing classes form what [Toynbee] called a creative minoritya group that wins the respect and emulation of the rest of society because it is able to come up with creative solutions for the problems that face a civilization in the course of its history. Too often, though, the governing classes stop innovating in any way that matters, and become more interested in trying to force problems to fit their preferred set of solutions than in adapting solutions to fit the current set of problems. They then become what Toynbee called a dominant minority, which no longer inspires respect and settles instead for grudging obedience."

The health gap between rich and poor is driving "unfavorable health outcomes," according to JAMA, who surveyed 5 million people. The root cause of that inequality, according to Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge, has been the extreme monetary policies from central banks, fueling asset bubbles that enrich only people who hold assets. Failed policies have led to the implosion of the middle class.

Greer also noted, "Ambitious menas often as not from within the plutocratic classrealize they can rise to power by championing the cause of the deplorables of their time," and he said, "There's a set of standard moves that people within the society use to try to deal with problems that the people in charge are no longer trying to solve. Unless you live under a damp rock, dear reader, you already know all of them. Toynbee calls them detachment, transcendence, futurism, and archaism."

By removing the mandate for the ACA, Trump surpassed mere fantasies, providing a small but significant amount of relief to the working class. Given steadily worsening situation they found themselves in over the past two decades, it was a welcome change in direction and the Democrats will have a hard time trying to inspire trust from that group, which they formerly championed. Moreover, in May, the Trump administration finalized a new rule that goes into effect this summer, and it states that drug companies must include the prices of their product in advertisements on TV. On Zero Hedge, Tyler Durden remarked, "At that point, when the general public understands just how much these companies are ripping them off, they may make a more permanent turn away from Western medicine's chemical treatments." Trump is clearly focusing a lot of his attention on the Caesar gambit, and as the middle class shrinks further, he is likely to find a growing following that way. The American left, who are inclined to offer something more substantial, missed the boat on this. Can you say "elitist"?

Trump lacks knowledge, of course (a least that's what it looks like), about what else is fundamentally wrong with America's health care system. Many in the alternative health community supported Ron Paul's candidacy in years past. With his knowledge as a doctor, he would have been in a good position to make a real difference. Unfortunately, his candidacy suffered the same fate as Tulsi Gabbard's is nowcompletely ignored by the mainstream media, who failed to mention any signs of popularity. Politically, the US just seems to be spinning its wheels.

That leaves the door wide open for opportunistic scammers. With all of us agreeing our health is more important than anything else, the scamming proceeded with:

ž "Sick care" for people encouraged to believe that magical cures through innovations will save them after they've ruined their health through neglect. (Universal health coverage would have the disadvantage of perpetuating this.)

ž Moral hazard: giving a profiting industry immunity from any responsibility for its mistakes. For an example that I wish not to name here for fear of censorship, there is a class of pharmaceutical products that has been deemed "unavoidably unsafe" but important enough that the government sees fit to take responsibility for mistakes on its own head, but this forces the injured seeking relief to deal with the red tape and Catch 22s of bureaucracy. With profits guaranteed, the industry pursues growth through ever-expanding rationalizations for the intervention involved, and they are not above resorting to polarizing tactics to achieve it.

ž Powerful organized interest groups, who pursue and achieve regulatory capture: with profits protected, the industry subsequently seeks to derail competition for a growing variety of its products, with monopoly pricing given a wink and nod. The result is that medical emergencies have become a leading cause of bankruptcy. Patients are now held hostage to price gouging for their very lives.

ž Media capture: one-sided portrayal of controversies in the captured media leads to public demand for legal enforcement of the profiting industry's goals. The injured are given no voice, the casuistry behind forced intervention is promoted unilaterally. Anyone disagreeing is denounced as a danger to public health.

ž Dissidents censored: deplatforming of alternative health advocates. Because health is such an important issue it is easy to rationalize this as protecting the public from misinformation. This itself, however, is a sign of desperation. It indicates that persuasion is passe, force is hitting its limits and quarterly reports are beginning to reflect that. Citizens are becoming aware of the profound degree of corruption. The pressure is set to be ramped up. According to Ron Paul, recently, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill amendment to repeal the prohibition on the use of federal funds to create a "unique patient identifier"This ID will be used to store and track every American's medical history." This threatened invasion of privacy would undermine the patient-physician relationship and put the needs of powerful special interests above those of patients.

Rectifying the situation, however, is difficult once corruption has gone this far.

The American medical system matches the description of a "secondary ponerological union," as described by Andrew Lobaczewski: an initially beneficial organization is infiltrated stealthily by people who see it as an opportunity for self-gain. Using skillful persuasion they take over the administration, then through increasingly brutal force, solidify their control over it and oust anyone who objects. The rank and file members of the organization do not realize what is happening, hearing only about a few ugly conflicts between personalities. Lobaczewski was speaking of political organizations and governments. I wonder if he would have termed this a "tertiary ponerological union," with a gang of variously corrupted organizations using the tricks of individuals to create secondary ponerological unions ("primary" ones being organizations such as gangs that start out with clearly harmful aims) to overwhelm a government and take control of its organs. Whatever the case may be, once corruption has reached such severe levels to where force is employed against dissidents, the only thing you can do according to Lobaczewksi is distance yourself from it, while the increasingly top-heavy crony-infested edifice teeters and ultimately collapses of its own weight and dysfunction.

What saddens me terribly is how many lives are at risk in the course of this.

News that such a collapse approaches arrived in my in-box this morning. According to Dagny Taggart at the Organic Prepper, the US health care system is hemorrhaging close to $1 trillion a year at this time, so much red ink, it is outpacing America's hockey-sticking war-mongering expenditures. That misappropriation includes failure of care delivery, failure of care coordination, overtreatment or low-value care, pricing failure, fraud and abuse and administrative complexity.

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The author has lived 35 years in Japan. She has also spent time in Siberia, where she led ecotours for Friends of the Earth Japan. She is fluent in Japanese and Russian, and also speaks Indonesian, Thai and Spanish. She loves nature and is an (more...)
 

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Patricia 0rmsby

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Next week, I will present possible solutions. I am grateful for the suggestions I have received so far, including for legislation. With Congress beholden to moneyed interests and the US public divided and conquered with regard to nationalized health insurance, it seems pretty hopeless at this point. Nonetheless, legislative attempts should be encouraged because they provide well-thought-out solution at hand for when the system does implode.

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019 at 3:46:58 PM

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