On the Issues: Healthcare

To say that the American people need to know their government is in bed with the insurance companies and “Big Pharma” would be to insult their intelligence.

Many of them already know (at least those that want to know) that the same powers that lobby Congress to protect the banks and oil companies have their parallels in healthcare, so why wouldn’t they use it to lie and cheat and threaten and bribe their way into power?

Does anyone honestly still believe these people have your best interests at heart?  Can anyone claim it’s not a conflict of interest that the lawmakers of this country tell us one thing and do another, that they holler and scream and try to foist upon us a shoddy single-payer system and socialized medicine when they themselves remain exempt from those very same laws; having Cadillac policies of their own, most likely arranged by the very same private institutions pouring poison in their ears?

I can believe it, since it’s what we, the people, have asked for.  We’re getting just what the doctor ordered; we just don’t like the bitter taste of the medicine, is all.

We have the FDA and the CDC as the supposed guardians at the gate, meant to ensure fair play and transparency, because that’s worked out so well in other sectors of government.  Hasn’t it?

Tell me, with all the billions of dollars poured into cancer research – roughly $100 billion a year – how much closer are we to finding a cure?  Not remotely, at least by mainstream allopathic methods.

Have you ever noticed the sort of language used when talking about healthcare?  Very rarely is any actual “care” discussed in debates.  The focus is always on how you’re going to pay for said care; or rather, how you’re not going to pay it and can’t pay for it or don’t have the means to pay for it (no matter how much you try, even if you’re extremely wealthy).

Whether it’s private companies or the government, it seems like everyone and their grandmother is trying to cram the idea into your head that you absolutely can’t live without insurance.

Yet have you ever stopped to ask yourself what insurance actually is? It’s essentially legalized gambling – the fear of a “what if.”

It’s a bet that a certain event will happen before a specified amount of time has passed.  A hundred dollars says you’ll die before you finish reading this.  That’s life insurance.  Another hundred says your house will catch fire before that.  That’s home insurance.  Another thousand says you you’ll get so pissed off at my analogies you’ll stick a fork in the electric socket before you even make it to the next paragraph.  That’s health insurance. Not that I’d ever be stupid enough to make those bets, but you get my point.

Maybe you’re the type of person who has initiative and interest in your own affairs enough to analyze the situation and crunch the numbers, weighing the payouts and risks in cost-benefit analysis the same way the insurance companies (and the casinos and politicians) all do.

Maybe you did that and came to the rational, reasonable conclusion that it’s something you’re willing to pay for up front and to live with the consequences come what may because you feel you personally need it.  And if you’re such a person, God bless, get on after it, more power to you.

However, I suspect you’re most likely not that kind of person; the kind who takes time out of their busy schedule to really decipher the seemingly complex web of science (which really isn’t that complicated if you just follow a few basic principles).

Instead, you’re most likely the sort of person who will consult a so-called “expert” who will tell you that these are your chances of X happening to you, while they withhold information that would otherwise reveal the odds or the payout or both being far, far lower than that.

See, they don’t get to make commissions or collect premiums that way.

They can’t sell you something if you’re not sufficiently scared enough to buy it.  Not to say it’s all peachy keen, that there aren’t reasonable concerns to be had, but the reality is certainly far removed from the hype in as much as you only ever see casino ads with big time winners, even though most people leave poorer than they arrived, with only a little disclaimer at the bottom paying lip service to addiction; a disclaimer which they only put there because they’re legally obligated to, much like tobacco and alcohol companies label their particular brand of toxins.

In the end, they get nothing without rigging the game in their favor and coupling comforting lies with sweet sounding promises.

The house always wins because they know the odds and you don’t, and because they set the rules accordingly.

They don’t have to hold a gun to your head and force you to play.  Your ignorance, greed, and fear does all the work for them and you don’t know when to stop any more than the guy believing the gambler’s fallacy that you can charge a roulette table or a pair of dice.

Something, something, don’t stop believing…

Whether you crunch the numbers yourself or not, your decision to purchase insurance really does only affect you and yours; it ought not to prejudice the rights and abilities of anyone else to do the same.  Yet, unlike in a casino, the fates and fortunes of the masses are tied to one another in the realm of politics with the gun of the State forcing everyone to play by the same set of crooked rules.

You would think knowing this would give you more incentive to go and learn the true odds, to practice counting cards and learning basic strategy, since it’s not like they’re gonna kick you out anyway.

At best, you’ll cost them enough money to buy your freedom from this circus, and isn’t that a good thing in the end?

But really, it’s fear more than anything that keeps you playing, and not so much a fear of any consequences from the State as fear of everything else.  What if I get sick?  What if break my leg?  What if someone hits me and they don’t have insurance?  What if I need surgery?  What if I can’t afford my medication?  What if I waste my entire life doing nothing meaningful or valuable to make me money or social capital such that by the time I’m old and grey I actually have to worry about how I’m going to take care of myself on my own?

What if I’m a dinosaur and a meteor falls on my head while I’m going to grab the mail?

That last one’s ridiculous, of course – who gets snail mail anymore?

Regardless, I’m sure it’s happened to at least one person and so are the insurance companies, that’s enough for them to try and paint it like an epidemic as inevitable as catching oxygen when you breathe.

Much like how, this one time, at terrorist camp, some guy brought an ounce too much of liquid on a plane and it blew up and now grandma’s got to get cavity searched like everyone else if she wants to bring an extra-large Seltzer with her on her flight down to Florida.

Obviously, bad things can and do happen from time to time, but do you know the true odds of them happening?  You probably don’t know them half as well as the insurance companies do.  Given how tough times are, how financially strained everyone is, would you be as eager and willing to throw precious resources at the problem if you knew the chances of it happening were one-in-a-million versus merely one-in-ten?

We can haggle on the exact numbers; but my point is, you probably don’t have enough to fund everything you’d like, to achieve perfect security. Even if you did, not everyone else necessarily does and what gives you the right to tell them how to spend their money?  You don’t like it when they tell you how to spend yours, do you?

“But what if they get sick?” I hear you ask. There you go with the what-ifs again.  Unless it’s someone you know, I’d be willing to bet real money you probably don’t give a shit about whether or not they get sick except in some abstract virtue-signaling sense.

I’m confident of this because, again, resources are precious and scarce and while it may feel good to care about everyone, chances are good you wouldn’t actually put real money into helping some nameless, faceless stranger, so all the moral posturing in the world is then rendered moot.

And, if it is someone you personally know and care about, have you tried, “iono,” persuasion and rhetoric before reaching for the gun of the State?

I’ll give you eight-to-three that you haven’t. Two-to-one if you’re a libertarian.

“But what if they get sick?” you insist on asking me. Am I wrong in thinking that perhaps you don’t care so much about whether they get sick as you’re concerned about whether or not their sickness is going to affect you personally?

Are you going to be the one who has to pay for it in some way?

I can certainly empathize with you if you don’t want to pay for it, especially if they were an idiot doing all the wrong things that everyone knows are bad for you while you’ve done all the right things that everyone knows are good for you (even though you may be a model of perfect health, you still feel the need to save for that rainy day).

I can perfectly understand your frustration.

Let’s stop and consider for a moment.

Just as you may not know the odds of catching some bullshit disease (one I just made up off the top of my head but which is perfectly real and very scary I can assure you) do you even know why you might catch such a disease in the first place?

In my experience, too few people ask “why” when it comes to their health.  You get a headache – why?  There’s a reason for it.  Things don’t just happen. Spoiler: It’s probably because you’re dehydrated and chances are good you drink less than a half-gallon of water every day; that or you’re stressed.

Were I to tell you it’s inevitable, but also completely random, and… well gosh darn, we just don’t know how stuff works because there’s no order or structure to the universe at all (science be damned), well then yeah, you’re naturally gonna feel quite afraid and want to take a certain set of actions. Especially if I come prepared with some convenient and patentable cure for the problem that totally isn’t just a placebo, I swear (never mind the fact that we’re ignoring the untapped potential of placebos and the ability of the mind to cure disease all by itself unassisted.)

That’s the other thing.  What little talk there is of actual health care always seems to be dominated by its own limited lingo and a bounding box of what’s acceptable to talk about in terms of human health versus everything outside it that’s “anti-science” and taboo.

Mostly, it’s all about drugs, surgery, and chemotherapy.

Holistic medicine and prevention are starting to gain in popularity, but mostly it’s still on the fringes, regarded more as a “privilege” and a “novelty” at best or some whacky, crazy snake oil at worst.

Particularly before it lays them inside nameless child prop #7, whom we’ll call Precious.

That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of junk science in the holistic community – there certainly is – but there’s also a lot of junk science within the mainstream as well.

When it comes down to it, there are really only a limited number of causes for disease, which if you understand them and tend to them, ought to prevent the vast majority of illnesses throughout your life.

Everything else comes down to genetics or freak accidents, “acts of God,” and interpersonal assault, for which it’s perfectly acceptable to rely on drugs and surgery in those cases.

Here’s even a handy chart to help you with most of it.

Obligatory “I’m not a doctor, I just have facts and know stuff” bullshit disclaimer.

Which, that brings us to another reason why healthcare costs are so high; the fact that no one is willing to stick their neck out to make a claim based on personal knowledge and experience, but requires expensive tests to confirm what we already know because everyone’s worried about being sued in this highly-litigious society of ours.

“Advice, unless fraudulent, carries no liability,” as the maxim goes.

People can make mistakes and shit happens.  It’s part of life.  There are no guarantees of anything except that it’ll end, and even that might be called into question someday.

Let me be clear: Your health is your responsibility.

I’ll say that again in case you missed it.  Your health is your responsibility, just as my health is my responsibility and no one else’s.

The one does not affect the other until we start roping people into some socialized medicine scheme collectivizing the costs of healthcare. Or should I say health insurance.

I can say with confidence that I want no part of such a system and would have the moral decency to accept the consequences of self-ostracizing if push came to shove.

I’m willing to take my chances that my self-driven knowledge of health is enough to prevent me from getting sick and to pay for it out of pocket if it’s not.  That’s my choice and I don’t foist it on anyone else.  All I expect is the same respect and courtesy and I won’t ask you to pay for my life style and choices.

If you don’t know something you can look it up, outsource the responsibility to another, ask whomever you want, whomever you think is an expert, but unless they deliberately mislead you, the choice to accept their help or not rests on you.

Who else would have a greater interest in your own well-being than you; a doctor, the government, Big Pharma, the insurance companies?  Surely, you don’t believe that.  I know you don’t, yet how many people beg these institutions to do for them what they can, and perhaps ought to, do for themselves, in the vast majority of cases?

It’s more fear, more “what-ifs” built upon the same.  What if my doctor defrauds me (like he doesn’t do that already)?  What if the drug companies get greedy and put poison in my medicine (like they don’t do that already)?  What if the food I’m eating is tainted and makes me unhealthy (like it doesn’t do that already)?

I’m not suggesting you’ll never have to see a doctor only that the choices you make in the present affect your long-term health and you either pay for it now or you pay for it later.

If there’s only so much you can practically do, then do that.  As my family’s doctor advises us, try to reach for something better than where you are.

How about this for a change?  What if the government is in bed with the doctors, the drug companies, the insurance companies, the advertisers, the medical journals, and all they care about is making money?

What if instead of outsourcing our personal and social responsibilities, we take charge and command them, owning up to our mistakes and paying for what’s right by honoring our lawful obligations?

What if we hold others to that same standard?

What if, when we do harm to another, we are held to account for it like a moral and decent human being ought to be?

What if, when we’re not harming others, we get to stand on our right to freedom of association, to property, and to be left alone?

What if we get to keep what we make and apply it as we see fit instead of having to pay for other people’s problems against our consent?

What if, instead of presuming guilt, we presume innocence again?  What if we replace fear and doubt with knowledge and certainty?

What if we take charge of our own health like an active and interested participant instead of passive, helpless, victim waiting for someone else to do it?

What if we could reduce our incidences of sickness and disease by turning to holism and taking preventative measures instead of always looking for a magic pill – some panacea?

What if we realized that by a few simple changes in our diet, our behavior, and our mindset, we could reduce the costs of healthcare for ourselves and for the taxpayer?

What if we set aside this idea of a socialized single-payer system until after we’ve achieved a state where everyone relies on prevention; to see whether or not it’s still as necessary as the people who profit by it want us to believe that it is?

What if we don’t even need it anymore at that point, because everyone is now healthy?  What if private savings and charity were enough at that point to handle whatever remained?

What if instead of spending so much of our time morally outraged by the idea of throwing people in the streets, we apply that same moral outrage to the people who knowingly and willingly destroy their own bodies and minds but then expect others to pay for it – who indirectly throw themselves into the street while feigning otherwise?

What if we don’t give in to their petulant demands, their self-entitled willful ignorance, but instead let them stand on their own choices and learn from them?

What if we let them act as a warning to others while ourselves seeking to expand our knowledge and help instill it in others?

What if we don’t give in to fear, but try freedom instead?

I think that would lead to a healthier, happier, more prosperous world. Don’t you?

* Marushia Dark writes fantasy novels and is also the founder of The Freeman State and an admin of the Facebook page Just Statist Things. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Minds.

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