Debt Rattle March 24 2017


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    DPC “Broad Street and curb market, New York” 1906   • Trump Ultimatum: Pass Health Bill Now Or Live With Obamacare (MW) • The US Has the Most Exp
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle March 24 2017]


    The US has the most expensive healthcare system because it’s mostly privatized. I got a hernia operation at a hospital in Napa, CA at St. Helena Hospital and the bill was $97,658,54. You might think there must have been complications or I stayed in the hospital for a while, but no, it was an outpatient operation. I paid a few thousand in addition to the Med. Ins., but mostly the Ins. held down the costs by rejecting that large fee. In spite of this the hospital sent me an arbitrary bill for $16,732. for what they referred to as adjustments and assessments, whatever that refers to. I tried to find out what the adjustment was for but they wouldn’t tell me and told me not to worry about it. Then later they tried to get it into a collections agency with a 2nd and final bill 10 days before the 90 days late was inflicted. I was able to orchestrate a conference call between billing and my insurance company, but they still couldn’t explain what the charge was for but agreed to drop it. That’s corruption and a blatant attempt to steal money, but the government does nothing in regards to this type of behavior. But if I went into a store and grabbed a candy bar without paying I would get arrested. So in the US you can figure as an individual you mean nothing whatsoever, but as a corporation you are everything.

    Dr. Diablo

    I was going to say the opposite. The reason you know it isn’t “Privatized” is exactly because they follow no normal business rules or laws — absolutely none –. “Private” business cannot do that. Only government-controlled and protected cartels can. Look at the time the U.S. chart diverged from the world: 1990, when they-who-must-not-be-named got government involved in healthcare with HMOs. It was straight deterioration from there, although that itself was a way to extend the crooked cartel protections from the Sherman Act established under the late St. Reagan.

    You notice that under ACA, costs easily doubled — easily — although we had 3-4 multiple 10% y-o-y increases going into it. People are “covered” with a $4,000 deductible, and yet we’re terrified people won’t be covered under a plan like mine that they can’t afford and would instantly bankrupt them if they used it. At that point, not sure it makes much difference if we’re “covered” or not, as, if anything, our coverage would be better if we were homeless and walked into the E.R., I kid you not. $12,000+ cash saved at the end of every year by being uninsured would buy a lot of health care…but only if it weren’t a cartel charging $97,000 for same-day outpatient, a $4,000 procedure.

    Anyway, all to get back to the main point: the U.S. had pretty good care for 200 years in a row until 1980. Amazing, huh? Then when government got involved in protecting insurance profits — a little thing we call “fascism” — costs rose and care dropped. With every addition of government to protect insurance company profits, it’s gotten exponentially worse. So if we went back to a plan only as awful as 1984, it would look like a bloody miracle to us now, except that everyone’s too young to remember we used to do this simple task just fine at a decent cost. For more interest, Denninger at has a de facto boycott of all other subjects, since this is the only one large enough, compounding fast enough, to bankrupt the nation in 2 years. We used to pay what? 5% GDP on health care and it’s far over 20%, while results — even in the simplest things, like infant mortality, like correct prescription drug fatalities, like not dying — are dropping like a millstone in the ocean. I was nearly bankrupted for 6 stitches — thanks Obamacare! And like your case, they both had no idea what or why I was billed, and sent it to collection without process or redress.

    So believe me when I say the corruption is so bad that if the entire U.S. had NO healthcare, NONE, but cash, with almost mathematical certainty we would have better, cheaper healthcare for more people with better results. (See Raul’s article on NGO’s) That’s not idle fantasy: the price of health care is dropping rapidly, is far safer, and is now affordable to everyone in the only two places it has competition: Lasik eye, and cosmetic surgery, as well as being 1/5th the nationwide cost at cash-only Oklahoma Medical.

    The problem no one is addressing is just what you outlined: the COST. When we talk economics, too often we think about it in terms of MONEY. Add more money, solve more problems. It’s not. (again see Raul’s article on NGO’s) Money is capitalism’s way of measuring how HARD something is. How much time, attention, and resources does it take, and what do we gain from it? That’s fine, but the minute you release activities from some measure of accounting, you relieve it from all oversight — which is exactly why the Insurers lobbied to find more taxpayer cash rather than reduce costs and therefore profits. Without government’s gun working for them, they would have had to return to reason decades ago, and millions more people would be alive now. But without any sort of cost-accounting that relates to anything, what things “cost” is simply whatever they make up on a given day. A band-aid costs $16,000, but we’ll give you an insurer discount of $12,000, and insurance will pay $2,500. You pay the low, low price of $1,500 per band-aid. Wow, thanks! Meanwhile, a drug that might cost $1,500 is sold for a $2 co-pay. Why? Because we just made it all up. We’ve been so removed from any actual cost, any actual capitalism for so long no one even knows what things should cost. Until capitalism returns, there’s literally no way to tell, because we can’t accurately measure — anything.

    Giving away all the care for “free” is C-L-E-A-R-L-Y not going to improve things because we still have no system of accounting what we do or what it takes to accomplish it, no measurement for results, and have not addressed why we get African health care (sorry Africa!) for Swedish prices. Which is simply the next planned level of Insurer bailout. We’ll have the U.S. government pay for ALL of it, and we still don’t account for or reduce prices. Because that would reduce profits. That is the apex and inevitable pinnacle of fascism unless someone stops the constant ongoing merger of industry and government into the same unit. Unfortunately, that means getting OUT of medicine, not into it, and means a service disruption that will be very, very, bad. That’s the extortion side of the racket, and it’s working great.

    Conclusion: It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter what Trump or Ryan do. It doesn’t matter what Obama or Hillary would do. The system is going to crash into ruins whether they “reform” it or ignore it. That’s the simple math of compounding 10% over 40 years. So there’s actually not a lot of point in discussing what it is or why it is, or who’s being most abused by it right now because in 2 years it won’t exist. Why? Because either the U.S. goverment and US$ will exist in 2 years, or the Insurance companies will, not both. And as the Insurers do not have tanks and planes, I’m not betting on them. When it goes down, it will return to a crude system humans understand: cash. Trade. As it has in Greece and Ukraine already, I’m sure. But we already showed that system — however awful — is still 80% better than the ACA. Incredible what you can do if you apply a little corruption and a lot of time, isn’t it?

    Ken Barrows

    Outrageous? Yep. Bloated? Yes. But health care is 1/6 of GDP in the USA. Get rid of a good chunk of it and is the American economy in chronic “recession?” Who are the wealth creators who will fill the vacuum?


    20 years ago climate models were celebrated as a huge breakthrough. Finally we were able to reproduce reality in the computer, which had been becoming ever more powerful and faster. Everyone believed that only minor adjustments were necessary, and the target would be reached. But when the computer-crunched results were finally compared to reality, huge unexplained discrepancies appeared

    Climate models fail on the test stand

    It is all pretty obvious stuff to anyone who has ever done computer modelling. If the model cannot reproduce the known past, it should not be used for forecasting the unknown future. Simple really when you think about it.

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