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    Thread: The Healthcare Industrial Complex

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      The Healthcare Industrial Complex

      Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us | TIME.com

      Stephen Brill wrote a cover story for Time exposing the parasitic economic practices behind the Healthcare Industry. This article reveals the truth behind the Healthcare Industry's 75% profit margin.

      The healthcare industry does not abide by supply on demand because the customer is taken out of the negotiation. The ambulance driver decides the hospital, the nurses and doctors decide the equipment and the medicine and they handle the entire thing with a car mechanic's approach of finding extra problems that don't really exist. The "charge-master" sets the price for everything, and suddenly a 2-dollar hospital gown becomes 200 dollars but your insurance company gets a discount so it's only 100 dollars, you pay a deductible and think you got a good deal. Ambulance companies alone rake in more money than Hollywood.

      Like every other industrial parasite growing in the united states, this is not a problem singularly regarding insurance companies. Every single health related industry also rakes in astounding profits (but not the people doing the actual jobs like doctors and hospital staff). The entire industry uses the health insurance companies as a vehicle to suck the funds out of the general population at a high enough level they don't notice the burden. Then the poor who don't have health insurance end up going bankrupt.
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      I was just about to ask if you saw the article. I've been hearing about this on the news all week

      I really want to pick up that magazine.

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      The link goes to the entire article. I haven't finished it yet though, it's a pretty long article.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Health insurance is about to be a requirement for all Americans. Without the threat of people deciding not to have health insurance, what is going to happen to insurance premiums? If insurance premiums skyrocket, what is going to happen to hospital costs? Might Obama and people in Congress have been paid off by executives in the insurance and medical industries?
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      There wouldn't actually be any effect because it's already so bad. If health insurance is required it will stop people from going bankrupt who don't have health insurance, but it's not like these people did anything to effect medical costs in the first place. That's the point, there's no oversight whatsoever in the first place. The cost of premiums is directly related to the cost of all the medical equipment and medicine you use, and there's no rating system to determine how much any of that should cost. Instead there's a charge-master setting prices arbitrarily. The health industry, despite being a "free market" industry does not abide by free market rules. It can't because the customer base doesn't really make a whole lot of decisions regarding what they purchase. An extreme libertarian would argue that if you just made everything into a private company (effectively removing the number 911) then people will vote with their dollar. In reality, the customer isn't really the best person to make decisions regarding their healthcare, their doctor is and so the doctors and hospital are the ones being sold to. And they have to use equipment and medicine that's approved by insurance companies who profit more if everything is more expensive.

      Insurance is a small but integral part of the healthcare problem, but if it were made into a single-payer system there's still very little in the appearance of a solution. After all the Military Industrial Complex is also single-payer, but the politicians and their staff buying the shit up are bribed to go against the interests the people paying for all this shit.

      I believe the system should be more decentralized, going in the opposite direction. But not in an extreme libertarian fashion. Local Hospitals should run their own insurance, not necessarily individually but perhaps on a county level. That way the industry is run by people somewhat vested in the quality and affordability of their medical care.

      Granted I still haven't finished the article, maybe there's a better solution.
      Last edited by Original Poster; 02-26-2013 at 02:19 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      I believe the system should be more decentralized, going in the opposite direction. But not in an extreme libertarian fashion. Local Hospitals should run their own insurance, not necessarily individually but perhaps on a county level. That way the industry is run by people somewhat vested in the quality and affordability of their medical care.
      What makes you think this is any different from the libertarian approach? If communities want to get together and form insurance cooperatives, that's A-OK according to libertarians. It's actually big government folks that try to outlaw such things.

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      There are lots of problems, but my earlier point was that the threat of, "Okay, screw it. I just won't have insurance," is about to be gone. That threat has kept premiums and hospital costs lower than what they would otherwise be. There will still be competition among the companies, and that will play a good role, but they are going to all know that everybody has to have insurance.
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      I still don't think that's really relevant. You can bitch about it all you want but whatever influence the uninsured have on the process is pretty miniscule considering no one has any problem bankrupting them over medical expenses. There's no accountability, the uninsured don't get any more choice over which extremely overpriced equipment to use and medicine to take. There's a fucking charge master. I don't agree with forced insurance but the option of going uninsured never really solved anything. You should perhaps read the article, because you seem to be griping about the elements of this problem that don't really matter. Obama went with forced insurance because healthcare spends more on lobbyists than the military industrial complex. It is harder to reform healthcare in this country than get us out of constant war. So he decided at least with forced insurance he can prevent bankruptcies and force everyone to get drained equally. If the cost of premiums has been kept in check by anything, it's simply the people's inability to pay all their bills, healthcare included. Healthcare will still continue to be the biggest leech on society it can be without completely destroying the organism altogether. Right now it's 20% of our economy, not because some people opt out of insurance but because if it were higher, too many companies would go out of business.

      And Cmind, my method is not libertarian because it's collectivist in nature and involves collective bargaining. It's simply locally collectivist.
      Last edited by Original Poster; 02-26-2013 at 09:06 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      And Cmind, my method is not libertarian because it's collectivist in nature and involves collective bargaining. It's simply locally collectivist.
      You have a simplistic and incorrect understanding of libertarianism. Collective bargaining is totally allowed as long as it's not coercive (like modern day government enforced unions, for example).

      Furthermore, libertarianism also acknowledges that any move towards greater decentralization is better, even if it remains coercive. Therefore, to a libertarian, giving more power from the federal government to state governments would be a step in the right direction.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      you seem to be griping about the elements of this problem that don't really matter.
      Why doesn't it matter? Demand is about to hit 100% without an increase in supply. You know what increased need does to prices. Have you ever bought ski gloves at a ski resort? Have you ever bought water at a summer music festival in the South? The prices are absurd. When everybody absolutely has to have something, the prices are higher than they are when not having it is a considerable option. What is different about health insurance?

      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      Obama went with forced insurance because healthcare spends more on lobbyists than the military industrial complex.
      And how is forced insurance supposed to change that?
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      Obama went with forced insurance because it's nearly impossible to fix this country's healthcare since it spends so much money on government. Obama stands no chance to fix the problem, assuming he wanted to.

      As far as ski gloves are concerned, you're still missing the point. We're already at the ski resort.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      If you are saying Obama has a rationale that doesn't add up, I agree. His elevator is not going to the top on this.

      If we are already at the ski resort, it is about to turn winter.
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      You realize that right now you're complaining that you will no longer have the right to be driven into bankruptcy by medical expenses that are already so artificially inflated they're driving people to bankruptcy, right? No one gives a shit in the medical industry if you have insurance or not. The problem is that there's no supply and demand in effect RIGHT NOW, not after forced insurance, but now. Read the article.

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      That aspect of the situation is not my complaint, and I know there are major problems existing now. Do I need to repeat my complaint?

      Yes, there is a problem with debt resulting from people not having insurance, and that has a negative effect on premiums, but that does not mean forcing people to have insurance is the answer. It will make the situation even more of a disaster.
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      I still consider this whole thing to be a red herring. We're sitting in 120 degree water and you're worried about it being turned up to 125.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      I still consider this whole thing to be a red herring. We're sitting in 120 degree water and you're worried about it being turned up to 125.
      And you're trying to solve a problem (government intervention into a market) by adding to the problem (MORE government intervention). As Einstein (probably) said, "you can't solve a problem using the same kind of thinking that caused the problem in the first place".
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      I still consider this whole thing to be a red herring. We're sitting in 120 degree water and you're worried about it being turned up to 125.
      We need to turn the heat down, not up. You seem to think that things are so messed up that any action is automatically good. It doesn't work that way. Government is not the solution. It is the problem.
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      Although I agree with the general idea, I don't agree that the health industry is completely free from the laws of supply and demand. The reason why the natural living movement is growing in popularity is precisely because of all of the problems this thread brings up. Some people are eating healthier, using herbal medicines and seeking alternative medical care (like doulas for example) because they don't like dealing with the established medical community and feel there is a better way to health. I myself haven't been to a doctor in 10 years or more because I don't trust the health industry as a whole. Obviously it isn't having much of an impact but I think that is a society wide problem that has to do with the way we are conditioned in all aspects of life, and not just by the health industry.

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      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      We need to turn the heat down, not up. You seem to think that things are so messed up that any action is automatically good. It doesn't work that way. Government is not the solution. It is the problem.
      No, dude, I don't think it's a solution. I simply don't get why you're fixated on something that is practically meaningless compared to the problem we're facing. Whether or not insurance is forced, our premiums are still as high as they can possibly be. Because the customer has no say, so medical care cannot be a free market industry. That doesn't mean socializing it is a solution, that would just switch the industrial complex to something more akin to schools, prisons and the military. But seriously, how about we focus on solutions to the problem rather than bitch about Obama's castrated healthcare reform.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      I have told you several times I think things are already really messed up. Have I not said it emphatically enough or something?

      I don't agree that the customer currently has no say. The customer does have a say. He can say, "Fuck off. I just won't have health insurance." That threat helps keep prices lower than they would otherwise be. When that is gone, what will be left?
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      See but I disagree. There's no evidence it keeps prices lower at all. Maybe if everyone did, it would mean something. As it stands, the ambulance company doesn't give a fuck whether or not you have insurance. The ride costs the same, and in some situations you can either pay the price or die.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      That's the ambulance company. What does that have to do with an insurance company worrying about not getting your business? It's not like the ambulance company is going to pay premiums for you if you don't.
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      Exactly, the insurance company has no say over how much the ambulance company charges. Threatening to take business away from the insurance company does not force the ambulance company to lower its prices. Are you starting to get it yet?

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      Omnis, you don't get economics. If the government forces everyone to buy something, the demand (and hence, PRICE) increases. It may or may not be a big increase, but it will certainly increase. You're certainly right to point out that this whole discussion is stupid because the American governmentcare system is already totally fucked. It has been for decades.

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      The profit of the insurance companies may increase, but I'm still more concerned with the medical industries 75% profit margin. Even if insurance companies take advantage and increase their profit margin (which I do expect, the oil industry did it why wouldn't they?) The profit margin of the medical industry itself, putting insurance companies aside, is still FUCKING 75%! I think the insurance issue and Obamacare blah de blah is just a bunch of red herring bullshit, sort of like how they continue making presidential debates about gay marriage and climate change never comes up.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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