I worked my entire adult life for the largest healthcare system on the east coast. I was mostly in information systems, but I still saw enough to make me never forget it. It didn’t surprise me at all when statistics began showing a number of years ago that hospitals and health practitioners are the third leading cause of death in this country.
I could recite horror stories that would make your skin crawl. I could, and may indeed still, write a book about my experiences. And now that I will be turning 65 in August, I am learning about the “fantastic” medical insurance for oldsters in this country. There is now more reason than ever to stay away from these witch doctors and bureaucratic nightmares.
I am sometimes shockingly naive. I just assumed that, upon turning old enough, I would register for Medicare and start enjoying the blessings of what we are told is a wonderful benefit. After all, I paid into the system for over 45 years, so if I need it, it will be there for me, right? Like Social Security? It is a government program, isn’t it? After all, they take it out of every one of our paychecks in taxes. If that isn’t a government program, what is?
Then I started getting all these letters from various insurance companies. “Competing” with each other, in the customary, chrony capitalist way. Why are insurance companies involved here, I wondered. I was aware that Medicare’s 80% coverage was so inadequate that most people have to buy “supplemental” insurance to cover that potentially devastating 20%. But I didn’t realize that insurance companies were in the thick of the whole process, much as was the case with Obamacare.
Finally, after talking with someone from Medicare for a long time, and explaining that my wife is still working, so I do have medical insurance through her employer, I was told that I could wait until whenever she retires and no longer has that coverage. So it appears that I can avoid this “fantastic” benefit for a few more years at least. But I fully expect that some letter may come in the mail, from Medicare, Social Security (which controls the registration process), or someone else, informing me that I am now an enemy of the state for having reached a certain age without registering.
Medicare exemplifies the disaster of this rigged system more than I anything I can think of. At least with Social Security, you get a very modest monthly stipend after paying into the system for decades. You must pay taxes on that income, however, since the great “tax cutter” Ronald Reagan instituted that double tax in the 1980s. But with Medicare, you also involuntarily contribute for decades, and still must pay $148 a month (presently, it undoubtedly will go up annually), for the pleasure of getting 80% of your medical costs covered. 20% of anything under our bloated, prohibitively expensive system is financially devastating.
Knowing that, without questioning it, many people opt for “supplemental” insurance to cover the the significant costs Medicare doesn’t. Which is where those pesky private insurance companies come in. For an even higher monthly cost, of course. But at least you’ll be protected. Financially, at least. Nothing will protect you from the risks of entering one of our hospitals and receiving “care” from “professionals” who’ve managed to kill more people than anything other than cancer or heart disease.
As with everything else in our Third World American Idiocracy, you definitely don’t get what you’re paying for. Big Pharma and the rest of the healthcare cartel spew propaganda against government run systems in Canada and Europe. But Americans actually pay more taxes for healthcare than those single-payer systems. We pay for a cradle to grave nanny state, but in return get a laisse faire brand of libertarianism that won’t repair the roads, upgrade the power grids, or protect civil liberties. And will literally allow you to die if you can’t afford their wildly inflated medical “products.” Unless you’re an illegal immigrant, of course.
Our Medical Industrial Complex rivals any other aspect of our thoroughly corrupt and incompetent system. It cannot be reformed until those profiting from the present mess are held accountable and have their financial interest in the system severed. Big pharma. Hospital administrators and CEOs. Insurance companies. And yet when Obamacare was being proposed, it was just these criminals and thieves who were consulted. Not the sick who were too poor to be healed. Not the whistleblowers who were ignored or ostracized here, as they are in every industry.
Richard Nixon started this ball rolling in the early 1970s, when HMOs were established. Before that, doctors used to make house calls. Watch any old movie or television show if you don’t believe me. Most doctors wouldn’t charge the poor. But once that huge financial incentive was created, Big Pharma was born and the rest is history. How many Americans- even in their 20s and 30s, aren’t taking some “meds” regularly? It’s a thriving industry- every other TV commercial is advertising these poisons, with an announcer reading the deadly list of side effects at lightning speed.
Huey Long built the first free healthcare clinics, in 1930s Louisiana. We ought to at least have free healthcare clinics all across this country, for those of us who don’t want to participate in the losing proposition that is our Medical Industrial Complex. Anyone who wants to go to all these expensive specialists, and get their litany of tests, should be free to do so, just like the ones getting their double dose of vaccines. But those of us who don’t trust or want that, shouldn’t be forced to.
With the never-ending Plandemic and unconstitutional lockdown having altered life in America and around the world now for over a year, the Medical Industrial Complex reigns supreme. They are the ones running this deceptive narrative, after all. When the sheeple yell, “trust the science” they mean trust our putrid healthcare system. Even the name is a misnomer; you’re paying for alleged, perceived, or real maladies, not for any “health.” Our medical cartel isn’t about to give you “health.” If everyone was healthy, they’d be out of business. Thus, their antipathy towards vitamins and natural remedies.
With all the enforced stress of modern life, it’s pretty difficult not to develop some medical problems. With over 70% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, there are always financial worries. Virtually every family is plagued by some kind of dysfunction, so there’s that. And with the average American getting fatter by the minute, diabetes and other illnesses tied directly to weight are naturally going to be more and more common. But exercise, staying in shape, and getting proper nutrients will put you ahead of the game.
Thirty years ago, my employer covered 100% of all my family’s medical costs, as long as we used one of their facilities. Initially, I didn’t even have anything deducted from my check, but eventually they began taking an amount, which increased every year. And the benefits began to be whittled away. So you paid more for less. That is pretty much the story of our sorry, rigged system; paying more for less. Your costs increase, while your benefits decrease. And literally no one questions it.
So I guess I’ve bought a reprieve, for a few years at least, before I have to deal with the tremendous “benefit” of “old age” insurance that leaves the victim (a better term than patient) with out of pocket costs most cannot easily pay. For a “benefit” they funded their entire working lives. And for which, if they want “full” Part B coverage (which just covers more things, but is still only 80%), they also have a monthly payment.
I don’t hear anyone else critiquing this ridiculous system. Bernie Sanders and others are lobbying for “Medicare for all.” So obviously he thinks this boondoggle is something we should be striving for. How about rooting out all the illicit profits and waste in this horrendous system? We can do better, and should demand better.