Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Forgiving U.S. Healthcare
There are two primary camps when it comes to healthcare; there is a camp that thinks everyone should have access to healthcare and an imaginary camp that doesn't. The camp that doesn't is perceived as whoever opposes one's own pet vision of healthcare for all. That's a fact I've come to realize after studying healthcare ideas all throughout the political and economic spectrum.
Within the non-imaginary camp (the everyone should have access to healthcare camp), there are two main sub-camps; one camp focuses on mixing government with healthcare and the other eliminating government from healthcare. In other words, one camp wants force involved with healthcare, the other no force at all. The majority of people envision healthcare as requiring force and basically all proposed healthcare solutions and systems around the world currently involve government force.
No force healthcare would be totally devoid of government; there wouldn't even be such a thing as a medical license. Doctors would have to come up with ways to prove their competence on their own or through private third parties. And patients would have to come up with ways to assess doctor competence on their own or through private third parties. No force means no theft or fraud. So doctors couldn't lie about their competence anymore than patients could steal a doctor's labor. This would be a hypothetical true free-market healthcare system. Advocates of such a system would consider it healthcare for all because the competition would be so great that it would facilitate realistic price discovery and thus be so cheap as to be affordable to all, especially with private charity inevitably involved. This system would be the default system if everyone in the world was sane. Sanity would mean no force, no one with the forceful notion of something for nothing, and so no problems other than the fact that healthcare isn't foolproof and sometimes healthcare can't starve off death. And, of course, sane people would accept that. (Now, since I'm speaking to an A Course in Miracles audience I will of course point out that true sanity would preclude the need for healthcare at all, but that'd also preclude the entire universe.)
Force in healthcare comes in countless forms. Look around and you can see all kinds of examples of force in healthcare. Overall, force in healthcare just about always comes with an added price; either the patient pays the price, the provider pays the price, a third party pays the price, or a combination. The price can come in the form of money, reduced freedom, reduced quality, et cetera. But regardless of form there is essentially always a price.
The most expensive system is a system where a patient is forced to pay an exorbitant price. But such a system would come with such revolt that it wouldn't really be possible. Instead, the current U.S.A. system is an example of just about the most expensive system realistically possible. If the Obamacare mandate were fully enforceable, it would be even closer to the most expensive system realistically possible. But since some people can still jump through a few hoops to opt out and not participate in the system, it's slightly less expensive as a whole than it could be.
There are so many forms of force that make the current U.S.A. system so expensive it is mindboggling. For example, the profit margins of health insurers are capped to a certain percentage. Sounds good to the average person bad at math and logic, like the average voter and politician. But it is very problematic. That's because by limiting the profit margin, insurer profits instead increase as the price of healthcare increases. The healthcare providers like that and, to work around the profit cap, so do the insurers. And the average dupe customer is none the wiser and pleased that insurer profit margins are limited.
As another example of force, think about drug costs and availability. It takes force to make a drug expensive. Because without force, there is price competition and usually abundance. Even the cost to develop a drug is a cost that mostly comes from force (such as FDA approval requirements). Also, trade restrictions that make it illegal to go to another country to buy and bring home a drug is a form of force. Most drugs can be found much cheaper elsewhere in the world.
And think about this, only a grade A sucker buys insurance to pay for an event that has one hundred percent certainty. So, when insurance covers things like drugs people take all the time and yearly checkups, the dupe consumers think that is a perk. But really, within their premiums they are paying the price of the drug or doctor visit plus the insurer profit and a whole lot more. In other words, it'd have been cheaper to pay out of pocket to see the doctor or buy the drug. But since the doctor or drug seller often gives a much cheaper price to the insurer than to patients directly, that's a form of racketeering that gives insurance an unfair advantage. It is a form of racketeering allowed to occur in the current U.S. system, even though it is supposed to be illegal.
Pre-existing conditions are another form of one hundred percent certain events. Unless the condition can be cured without medical care (such as in most common cases of type II diabetes with proper dietary changes), the condition is a certainty. Forcing for-profit insurers to insure one hundred percent certain events adds the cost of the insurer's profit on top of the cost of the event, which is then socialized to all the healthy dupes paying for insurance. Insurance doesn't work unless it is purchased before the event. Insurance is socialistic by its nature but it is supposed to socialize possible risks not certainties. Insuring pre-existing conditions is just for-profit socialism, which is just a more expensive form of socialism.
So the next less expensive thing than the current U.S. system would be some variation of Medicare for all. That would basically be non-profit insurance funded by taxes that covers everyone regardless. But it would only be non-profit in theory since the bureaucrats running the system would have lots of room to profit through lucrative employment. Because really, a non-profit is just a for-profit that pays all its profits out as salary. A true non-profit has no costs because resources and labor are donated for free. Also, if insurance were merely socialized, there would still be constant pressure from the medical industry lobbying to bilk the taxpayers out of as much money as possible. And we can know that would be the case unless something else happened first. That something is the enforcement of century old law: 15 U.S. Code Chapter 1 - MONOPOLIES AND COMBINATIONS IN RESTRAINT OF TRADE, A.K.A. The Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman acts.
As a warning to all American citizens reading this, by telling you about 15 U.S. Code Chapter 1, I'm going to be red-pilling you. If you still identify with the Democrat gang or Republican gang after I tell you this I'm afraid you might be hopeless...a whipped dog. 15 U.S. Code Chapter 1 is law that already exists and has for a long time, but for some strange, unspoken reason it is not enforced in regards to the healthcare industry. The reason it isn't enforced is because neither the Democrat gang nor Republican gang wants to enforce it. Enforcing the law would see healthcare prices collapse 80-90% or more and lead to a quick but deep recession as the healthcare industry was forced to shrink, decriminalize itself, and become a legitimate competitive business with transparent competitive prices and no artificial trade restraints.
All it would take to implement this health care fix is an executive order announcing a sixty day notice saying that after sixty days the U.S. government is going to start enforcing 15 U.S. Code Chapter 1 on the healthcare industry and that anyone in violation of the law after that time will be prosecuted.
Obama could have made such an executive order and didn't; Trump could too but hasn't. Not only that, the left and right echo chambers try hard NOT to let the American public know that such a simple thing is even an option. It's mostly only discussed in libertarian circles. Yet, even the formal Libertarian party ignores it.
Other than political puppets and people who work in the healthcare industry and capitalize off the fraud, all people with at least half a brain "left" or "right" would rally behind the enforcement of 15 U.S. Code Chapter 1 if people knew about it, understood it, and realized it already exists. But they don't. And that tells you something: that the media and the politicians left and right are likely either incompetent or in on the fraud.
The two party snow job keeps the people ignorant, stuck and preoccupied in the brain-dead, hate-filled, emotion-driven, status-quo-maintaining battle of team Dem vs. team Rep. Just think of the pressure the Dems could put on Trump by promoting the enforcement of U.S. Code 15 Chapter 1. But Dems don't because they are frauds and don't want it and don't want to reveal that Obama could have done so himself. Instead, the Dems and Reps just fight over who should pay to keep the scam going and who shouldn't, all the while blaming the other side for inaction on changing the scam itself.
If healthcare got cheap, people would stop caring so much about socialized medicine. Thus, the Dems would lose the socialized healthcare carrot they like to dangle. And the Reps would lose the we want a freer-market but not really free-market in healthcare carrot they like to dangle.
The healthcare racket is an example of why The Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman acts should even be law to begin with. Government can and does allow criminal practices that a free-market couldn't. A free-market monopoly is a business so good that everyone loves it or so good that it leaves no other better choice. Otherwise, a monopoly is a result of force and the thing about force is that it's illegal unless the government allows it.
There are some things that are monopolistic by nature. For instance, the shortest distance on land between point A and point B is a natural monopoly. Therefore, if you own that land you have a monopoly. But, if you take advantage of that monopoly people will look for alternatives. The fact is that monopolies are mostly a phantom, but they do become real when the government facilitates them. In that sense, monopolies tend to be franchise monopolies which are government granted.
Living in a town with one doctor or even one hospital wouldn't really be a monopoly, just a geographic convenience. But living in a country dominated by a single medical racket is monopolistic.
U.S. healthcare is monopolistic due to government facilitated force. And while there are people and groups that try to provide healthcare outside the monopoly as best they can, like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, for most people it is easier and more lucrative to be part of the monopolistic system. In a system where, for example, patients can sue doctors and hospitals for ungodly sums of money and juries actually reward such ungodly sums, that's a kind of cost that must be paid for by someone and monopolistic practices make it easier to recoup those costs. In a system where developing a drug or treatment requires a long, expensive FDA approval process, monopolistic practices make it easier to recoup those costs. In a system where no one who shows up in an emergency room can be denied medical treatment, monopolistic practices make it easier to recoup those costs.
Get the point? Force comes with costs!
Now, considering all I just explained, we can get to the main question at hand: how to forgive healthcare? Forgiving healthcare, like forgiving anything else, requires getting out of the guilt projection trap. Because when you are in the guilt projection trap, you aren't really looking for a solution, just a scapegoat. That's how the Democrats and Republicans survive. The Dems say that they could usher in a utopia if it wasn't for those evil Reps. And the Reps say that they could usher in a utopia if it wasn't for those evil Dems. And anything either side implements that turns out to be subpar, that side just blames on the other side for it not being a success. It's a veritable status-quo machine.
Although there are some people content with the current system for various reasons, most have issues with it. But even though most people have issues with it, most people have different ideas about how it could be fixed based on where they project the most guilt and not necessarily based on any reality about how it could actually be fixed.
The basic options available beyond the current system are a socialized system or a free-market system born of things like enforcing The Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman acts to remove government facilitated force from the system. A socialized healthcare for all system would likely at best be about half the cost of the current system based on what other first world countries that have socialized healthcare pay. And a more free-market system, if taken all the way, would be about 90%+ less than the cost of the current system. Realistically, I don't see anything close to either scenario happening. Not until healthcare bankrupts the country is anything major likely to happen. And you don't want to be sick and dependent on the system when that happens.
In the meantime, instead of just bitching and projecting guilt, you can forgive by taking matters into your own hands based on your own subjective preferences. If you want socialized medicine, you'll have to become poor, old, work for the government, make your own private socialized system, or move to another country. If you want true free-market priced healthcare, you'll have to travel to or move to a place with private healthcare and with a lower cost of living, like India. And if just freer-market priced healthcare is good enough, you'll have to travel to or move near a place like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, or make your own local place like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. Also, you could just be healthy, not have insurance (if you can avoid the Obamacare penalty), and not participate in the medical scam at all. Or you could do the same and not be healthy and look for alternative medicine and or roll the dice and just accept the fact that everyone dies eventually.
What you shouldn't do is be an average tool who does nothing proactive and just perpetuates the status-quo by being a sucker that projects guilt based on political preferences. Instead of being a partisan tool, you could at the very least spread the word and expose the fact that neither the establishment left nor right is willing to enforce the Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman acts on healthcare; it might not work to change the political inaction but at least you'd be waking up your partisan political projection zombie friends and relatives.
Forgiveness doesn't mean you have to stand by passively and let yourself be scammed. If you are cognizant enough to know you are being scammed, projecting guilt won't solve anything. Instead, you have to take responsibility for letting yourself get scammed. If government is involved and you are basically being scammed at gunpoint, you still have to take responsibility; after all, most people don't hesitate to advocate forms of government force that benefit themselves. You can't complain when you're a non-aggressors on the wrong side of a gun that you yourself like to use on non-aggressors.
If you can afford being scammed and the scam is more convenient to you than alternatives, then accept that you accept it. And if you are fine with the scam because you benefit from it, you have to accept that too. Because otherwise you'll project guilt on those who want to quell the scam.
An important part of forgiveness is being honest with yourself and conceding to the fact that you might be an idiot who doesn't know everything and who sees things subjectively, skewed by self-interest and fear. True forgiveness is easy because you don't have to figure out every little detail to identify guilt versus innocence. Instead, you just always see innocence by realizing that you made up the guilt that appears to you in the world. You accept the fact that you chose subconsciously and often even consciously to play the victims victimizers game.
My own approach to healthcare is the same as I approach everything: forgive it and learn to do what I can to be free of it so I don't have to concern myself with it. I'd rather be a healthy person that doesn't use the healthcare system and so doesn't have to pay a cent for it than have a socialized system without price discovery and competition that I'm forced to pay for regardless of health. In that sense, I'd rather the system be cheap enough that if I did have to use it, it'd be affordable, making insurance and government socialism undesirable and unnecessary. But that's just me and I believe in live and let live. Let people be free to have the choice of whatever healthcare they do or don't want as long as they afford me the same freedom. In other words, I'm against all one-size-fits-all forced systems. And if you happen to be someone who believes in one-size-fits-all forced systems, forgive me for being against them.
The beauty of true forgiveness is that you can solve the problem of healthcare right now in your mind even if nothing changes externally. And with the problem solved in your mind you can take a sane, guilt-projection-free approach to solving it in your own life and even the broader world.