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Medical Industrial Complex (The Underground Knowledge Series, #3)
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MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX > Insurance – the devil's in the detail

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message 1: by James, Group Founder (last edited Jun 10, 2017 01:18PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 11218 comments Another (raw draft) excerpt from MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures:

“Unless you’re a Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, you’re one illness away from financial ruin in this country.” –Dr. Steffie Woolhandler

One faction we haven’t devoted much space to so far is the health insurance sector – another major player in the aforementioned complex. It, too, has come in for its share of criticism. In fact, allegations of corruption have been swirling around health insurers for years.

If those unnecessary medical tests don’t kill you, perhaps your medical insurance bill will!

One who intimately knows how the health insurance sector works is American Wendell Potter, a health insurance insider who shares his knowledge of the industry in a revealing article posted on the WantToKnow.info blog site. In it, Wendell claims he was “in a unique position to see not only how Wall Street analysts and investors influence decisions insurance company executives make but also how the industry has carried out behind-the-scenes PR and lobbying campaigns to kill or weaken any health care reform efforts that threatened insurers' profitability”.

Wendell continues, “I also have seen how the industry's practices – especially those of the for-profit insurers that are under constant pressure from Wall Street to meet their profit expectations – have contributed to the tragedy of nearly 50 million people being uninsured as well as to the growing number of Americans who, because insurers now require them to pay thousands of dollars out of their own pockets before their coverage kicks in – are underinsured. An estimated 25 million of us now fall into that category.

“What I saw happening over the past few years was a steady movement away from the concept of insurance and toward ‘individual responsibility,’ a term used a lot by insurers and their ideological allies. This is playing out as a continuous shifting of the financial burden of health care costs away from insurers and employers and onto the backs of individuals”.

Wendell concludes that rising medical bills mean fewer sick people are visiting their doctor or collecting prescriptions, and he predicts the future for many who become seriously ill will be forced into bankruptcy or foreclosure on their homes.

And, of course, that’s exactly what’s happening.

When it comes to the US medical system at least, there is no “universal healthcare” service that covers every citizen. And so insurance is supposed to make sure everybody’s covered. But what about the uninsured and the underinsured?

Call us naïve, but it just seems to us that any civilized society that can afford to should provide at least basic healthcare to every man, woman and child. Relying on private insurance seems like a very obvious recipe for disaster in our opinion. The insurance-to-fill-the-gaps approach always includes much collateral damage aka untold deaths…

Many politicians claim it’d be far too expensive to provide universal healthcare, but then don’t blink an eye as they sign off on spending several trillion dollars annually on military expenditure to keep the perpetual war machine rolling. Go figure!

And of course numerous countries like Japan, Australia, the UK and New Zealand comfortably provide free (or close to free) healthcare for all their citizens without it putting the country under tremendous financial strain. So the argument from US politicians that universal healthcare would literally bankrupt the country just does not hold up to global scrutiny.

This disparity between US healthcare and the rest of the (developed) world’s healthcare was covered in no uncertain terms in a June 2012 article that appeared in The Atlantic. The article, which had the heading ‘Here's a Map of the Countries That Provide Universal Health Care (America's Still Not on It)’ and the first line of which read “The U.S. stands almost entirely alone among developed nations that lack universal health care”, showed a world map highlighting in green the countries which have free universal healthcare for all their citizens. In what may be a surprise to most Americans, about half the world map was highlighted in green to indicate they have universal healthcare.

The article points out that such healthcare is available “from Europe to the Asian powerhouses to South America's southern cone to the Anglophone states of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The only developed outliers are a few still-troubled Balkan states, the Soviet-style autocracy of Belarus, and the U.S. of A., the richest nation in the world.”

A 2013 Real Truth magazine article authored by Edward L. Winkfield possibly specifies correctly one of the main reasons for the mess that is the US healthcare system. And that reason, in his opinion, is insurance.

Headlined ‘America’s Healthcare Crisis – Is There a Solution?’, the article highlights the exploding costs of healthcare in the last few decades. Winkfield brings up some horrifying statics that medicine is responsible for. These include; expensive medical costs being responsible for sixty percent of bankruptcies in America; and that there has been a tenfold increase in healthcare expenditure in a single generation (up from $256 billion in 1980 to $2.6 trillion in 2010).

“By and large,” Winkfield states, “U.S. healthcare can be summed up in one word: insurance. It is intended to protect individuals and families against the possibility of a devastating financial loss. Many believe this system is the only way to avoid bankruptcy and the trauma that accompanies an expensive medical bill they cannot afford to pay—in multiple lifetimes.

“Yet, even with insurance, a serious illness can lead to financial ruin.”

Winkfield ends his article that basically summarizes the main theme we wish to express in this entire book:
“Those interested in truly resolving the healthcare dilemma must realize that implementing an entire system that is proactive—based in part on properly equipping the body to function—and not reactive—depending solely on medical science for a cure—is vital to solving the crisis once and for all. This is the factor that has been woefully missing from the healthcare equation!”

MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures (The Underground Knowledge Series, #3) by James Morcan

message 2: by K.P. (new) - added it

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 43 comments right now my mother is fighting medicare and her primary insurance. they both keep passing the bill to her which she can barely cover ($60 for oxygen tanks per month when you can barely keep other bills paid is expensive). I moved back home and do a lot without just to help my mother stay independent. but that insurance bill...
its ridiculous that no one wants to pay what they're supposed to and have us the ones purchasing insurance constantly foot the damn bill. every month I write letters and make copies to send to medicaid and moms primary trying to see who will pay their share of the premium that month. then they cut her off and I have to donate plasma so she can get her tanks. then its the same cycle again after they promise to pay their part next month... which they never do.
I can see why my sister says insurance is a big scam. she been without for 5 years and tries to eat healthy and exercise more. her stress levels stay high and she is constantly ill with a cold or something due to germy coworkers but she powers through it. she says if she can't fix it herself with duct tape and a prayer she has no need to drag herself to the clinic. I worry because she's been down more often and using up more sick days.
when you're poor you can't afford time off. my nephew broke his foot after work slipping on ice (too bad it wasnt on site. he was on city property then trying to catch the bus) and was supposed to take 8 weeks off. he could only afford 2, and can barely keep up. he has a damaged foot for the rest of his life.
the current state of affairs is sad...

message 3: by James, Group Founder (last edited May 08, 2015 02:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 11218 comments K.P. wrote: "right now my mother is fighting medicare and her primary insurance. they both keep passing the bill to her which she can barely cover ($60 for oxygen tanks per month when you can barely keep other ..."

K.P. these are really sobering experiences, but thank you for sharing...Such stories make me beyond angry!

Unfortunately, your medical experiences are all too common and are actually trending toward the norm...

It's a really perverse world where we have almost unlimited military expenditure to finance invasions of vulnerable, mineral-rich foreign lands (sorry, I mean "peace keeping"...ha ha ha!), where our governments happily bail out privately-owned banks with multi-trillion dollar relief packages, and yet we cannot cover the measly costs of our own citizens' basic healthcare.

People need to stop accepting the horsesh*t line that it's "too expensive".
Just like education, you cannot put a price on a population's health.
It should be any governments first expenditure, not their last.

There's a line in a song I like called President Gas (by the 1980s British rock group The Psychedelic Furs) which goes "It's sick, the price of medicine".
You can listen to the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6VFJ...

I always thought the lyrics of President Gas nicely summarize the commercialization of politics:

You have to have a party
When you're in a state like this
You can really move it all
You have to vote and change

You have to get right out of it
Like out of all this mess
You'll say yeah to anything
If you believe all this

But, don't cry, don't do anything
No lies, back in the government
No tears, party time is here again
President gas is up for president

Line up, put your kisses down
Say yeah, say yes again
Stand up, there's a head count
President gas on everything but roller skates

It's sick, the price of medicine
Stand up, we'll put you on your feet again
Open up your eyes just to check that your asleep again
President gas is president gas again

He comes in from the left sometimes, he comes in from the right
It's so heavily advertised that he wants you and I
It's a real cowboy set, electric company
Every day is happy days it's hell without the sin

But, don't cry, don't do anything
No lies, back in the government
No tears, party time is here again
President gas is up for president

Line up, put your kisses down
Say yeah, say yes again
Stand up, there's a head count
President gas on everything but roller skates

It's sick, the price of medicine
Stand up, we'll put you on your feet again
Open up your eyes just to check that your asleep again
President gas is president gas again

message 4: by James, Group Founder (last edited May 08, 2015 03:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 11218 comments 2 minute trailer for SICKO (Michael Moore's documentary on US healthcare) https://www.goodreads.com/videos/8381...

I thought Moore made some very good points in this documentary about the sorry state of the health system.

message 5: by James, Group Founder (last edited May 08, 2015 05:16PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 11218 comments Okay, so my anger about this situation has not dissipated just yet, so I'm gonna indulge in another rant:

Officially, 18,000 American citizens die every year for no other reason than not having an insurance card. Many have suggested that number is a very conservative estimate.

Approximately 45 million US citizens, or one American in every seven, do not have health insurance and are therefore all at risk.

Here’s another statistic: besides being the number one cause in America for bankruptcy, medical expenses are also the number one cause of homelessness. And the medical insurance system, which regularly tries to wriggle out of paying insured patients through the use of creative lawyers and loopholes buried in the fine print of contracts, is a big reason for that statistic.

How many people have to die or suffer unnecessarily before logic sets in and everyone agrees too many citizens are "falling thru the cracks" with this corrupt user pays healthcare system?

People need to stop accepting the BS line that it's all just “too expensive” for governments and that individuals – including those less fortunate than the average employed citizen such as the mentally ill, drug addicts, abuse victim, war vets, the disabled and the elderly – must cover every single Goddamn cost all by themselves.

We will never have a civilized society without creating a fair health system in which every man woman and child – no matter what their financial position – has access to medical services.

Healthcare is not a privilege, it’s a human right!

message 6: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  | 15 comments This is an update about the continued collection of information by the insurance companies from doctor's offices. I got a call earlier this week from a third party company representing United Healthcare saying they wanted the complete charts of 109 of our United Healthcare patients. We only have 170 UHC patients, not all of them active. When I asked if 109 charts was excessive, she said not to worry that they would send out a technician to copy all the information from our database onto theirs. This would give them access to all of our patients' records, not just UHC patients, but it is bad form not to trust the insurance companies. When asked why these charts are needed, she said it was for risk assessment. I asked what is risk assessment (by contract we only have to release information so they can make sure we are billing correctly). She said it was all defined in a package they were mailing out to us. When asked if the package had been mailed, she said the package would only be mailed if and after we made an appointment to have one of their technicians come out. When I told her that I wanted to speak with a UHC official, she said she was reporting me for being non compliant. I guess that means it is going on my official record! And, yes, I called back this company the next day, and they are working with United Healthcare. The little information this person did have is that United Healthcare is targeting information about the patients on the UHC Medicare replacement plan. I am assuming that "risk assessment" is what they call the trimming of elderly patients with multiple or long-term health problems. But I am not sure since that UHC official has yet to call me back.

message 7: by James, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 11218 comments Wow, that's an alarming story from the medical front lines, Kathy.

message 9: by Lance, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2792 comments The Specialists’ Stranglehold on Medicine https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/op...

"Those (high) prices become the benchmarks for private health insurance companies, too."

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