[This article originally posted in February 2009]

I just know it's bad! Real bad! Like France.

This quote comes from Factcheck.org:
“Obama said the high cost of health care causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds. That’s at least double the true figure.”

Now, I won’t say a word against Factcheck, as far as I can tell they are the only unbiased website on the Internet. It is the content of the quote itself that worries me. Because if Factcheck is right (and they always are) then that means that the cost of healthcare bankrupts someone every minute or so!

Shit, let’s be generous: let’s say every two minutes.

/me thinks about it.

Holy crap! That’s fucking horrible! This is a catastrophe! Rome is burning! :(

In my post about piracy I discussed the reasons why Capitalism does not always serve to benefit the consumer because large, organised companies tend to passively collude by not engaging in a price war.

The US healthcare system is the worst case of this. It is dominated by insurance giants and private healthcare programs that have become masters at sucking maximum cash out of people. They have been slowly closing up their safety nets so that they protect people from fewer, and fewer things, and slowly cranking up their prices until the point where America’s healthcare system has the lowest value of any in the developed world.

And all this with a life-expectancy that trails pretty much all of Western Europe.

I can already hear people complaining that this isn’t true, that the US healthcare system has some of the most advanced treatments and highly skilled doctors on the planet. Well, that’s true, it is also completely irrelevant. The US healthcare system is crap, because it only helps the wealthy minority.

Let me lay some reality on you with a simple maxim:
“It is illogical to rely on exceptional examples to justify a flawed system. If the structures you are defending do not work for the average person then they DO NOT WORK.”

My point is that whenever something doesn’t work people spring to its defence by citing exceptional examples, examples where the system does work, but only for a small group of people.

The flawed logic I am attacking is used to defend having over 30 kids per class in schools: “But teacher X in school Y has 50 kids, and she does just fine!”
Maybe, but she is clearly the next stage in human evolution, a normal human being cannot do that, at least not effectively.

This logic is also used to defend freemarket capitalism: “Of course the system works! Look at us, we have tons of money!”
Yes, but your parents sent you to Harvard, they didn’t have to hold down 3 jobs to feed you and your 6 sisters before sending you off to a school that is government mandated to be uncompetitive.

And it is used to defend the US healthcare system. It is a weird, and frequently American thing, to believe that because something is elitist, that means it’s good. This just isn’t true, especially when it comes to primary healthcare, something that every person has a RIGHT to.

Doesn’t it embarrass America that its citizens have to go to MEXICO and CUBA in order to get healthcare? Hell, I live in a 3rd world country and I would be embarrassed if large numbers of my fellow citizens had to go over there to be treated, and get medication.

How can it possibly make sense for someone to drive across 4 states, and then into another country, in order to get medication because it’s cheaper than going to the local drug store?

I put this question to an apologist and his response was along the lines of “blah blah blah, market correction, blah blah blah, temporarily inflated prices, blah blah blah, slight increase in health tourism”.

It was a great response, 2 lies and then some spin. I love that phrase: “health tourism”. It makes it sound fun! :D Like: “I know! This year let’s go to Cuba! We can hang out on its beautiful beaches, sip some cocktails and then have that life-saving bypass surgery I need! :D”

Which completely leaves out the whole: “Oh my god! Oh my god! I’m gonna die! I’m gonna die!” part of the situation :(

It was an entirely unconvincing reply, and I don’t think even the guy saying it believed it. At this stage everyone in America knows the system is shit. Oh, except the rich, they are probably still looking out their windows at the Mexican garden slaves tilling in the terraced fields and thinking “naw, things are great”. But all the intelligent people know that things are screwed.

Logically this applies double to doctors, insurance salespeople and other healthcare professionals. They are typically highly educated and reasonably intelligent so they must see that things are crap.

And yet, they keep supporting the system.

(Continued on Page 2)

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