If you want Exhibit A in how badly government can screw up an industry, look no farther than medicine and medical insurance. From Michael Snyder at theeconomiccollapseblog.com:
I know that the headline sounds outrageous, but it is actually true. According to a brand new report that was just released, Americans had to borrow 88 billion dollars to cover their medical bills last year. That is a truly astounding number, and it shows just how dramatically our current health care system has failed. And even though the vast majority of Americans are covered by “health insurance”, millions of us are deathly afraid to go to the hospital because of what it might cost. Today, two-thirds of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are caused by medical bills, and most of the people going bankrupt actually had health insurance. Overall, more than half a million American families are financially ruined by medical bills each year, and meanwhile our “representatives” in Washington are doing absolutely nothing to fix the problem.
Surveys have shown that up to two-thirds of the country is living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time, and an unexpected medical bill can be absolutely devastating for those that are just barely scraping by.
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James Howard Kunstler rails against the rackets known as medical care and medical insurance. From Kunstler at kuntsler.com:
Think of the ObamaCare reform debate now playing in the US Senate as the final gurglings of polity that knows it is whirling around the drain. They’re pretending to attempt to fix a racket that comprises eight percent of the American economy. Yikes! How did that happen? At the beginning of the 20th century it was one-quarter of one percent (.25 percent) of the economy.
The standard explanation is that, first, Medicare jacked up overall healthcare activity in the 1960s, hauling in a customer-base of old folks who previously received no special treatment and were, generally, less well than non-old folk. Secondarily, technological innovation opened up so many new methods of disease control for everybody, young and old, that we’re able to treat more sickness in more complicated ways — and that drove costs up way further.
The greater part of the story remains neatly concealed within the matrix of rackets erected around the money-flows since the big cost bump-up in the 1960s, and these involve insurance companies, Big Pharma, corporatized doctors’ practices, hospital monopolies, and, of course, politicians on-the-take dividing amongst each other a colossal pool of grift that exists mainly for one simple reason: the cost of everything is hidden from public view.
Nobody has any idea what anything costs. Certainly not the patients, sometimes called “customers” or “consumers” — but really hostages. If you go into the hospital for a stent in the left descending coronary artery, nobody will tell you what it costs, starting with the doctors who have performed the procedure a thousand times. They can’t even estimate the cost (or won’t), though they could probably give you a pretty good ballpark number for the cost-and-installation of a new fuel pump on their BMW-28i.
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