‘Puter received the following missive from much-loved operative JAB, from the doublewide. You know the one. It’s on the Mississippi flood plain, on the stupid side of the levees.
Anyhoo, JAB writes in to further discuss ‘Puter post on mortality and health care. It’s lengthy, but worth a read. Scripsit JAB:
I realize you posted “Embrace Your Mortality” Friday, but I just read it today…Monday morning. Gee, thanks for the uplifting start to my week.
Needing something with which to counteract the gloom a low-church Protestant (no incense, no funny hats for us) would naturally have upon discovering that I am to doomed to spend Eternity picnicking with Old Scratch, I decided that music would cheer me up. After all, it did seem a wee bit early for my first Manhattan. Plug in IPod—and Shuffle–and first up….Foo Fighters…D.O.A., which includes the following lyrics: “It’s a shame we have to die, my dear, No one’s getting out of here alive this time.”
If both Mr. Puter and Foo Fighters want me to contemplate mortality, who am I to argue?
I concede your point, Mr.Puter, modern medicine can perform miracles, but not the Ultimate Miracle. Yeap, we’re all doomed.
However, your post makes the case that by embracing our mortality, and going softly into that Good Night, we would perhaps save health care.
If I may ask, why would we want to “save” health care? The system is so warped, distorted and perverted that it may just need ruination.
Warped? Distorted? Yessir, for example:
1. The government favors employees of large companies, allowing them to pay part of their health insurance premiums with pre-tax dollars, while the self-employed are afforded no such benefit. Individuals are disadvantaged by this distortion in the market.
2. States have enacted legislation mandating health insurance policies cover things like annual mammograms. If you are a 20-something single man, I’m pretty sure you don’t need an annual mammogram. If you live in one of those states, you cannot chose a stripped down, i.e. cheap, policy even if that is what suits your individual needs.
3. And this from the Wall St. Journal: “Medicare utilization is roughly 50% higher than private health-insurance utilization, even after adjusting for age and medical conditions. In other words, given two patients with similar health-care needs—one a Medicare beneficiary over age 65, the other an individual under 65 who has private health insurance—the senior will use nearly 50% more care.Medicare utilization is roughly 50% higher than private health-insurance utilization, even after adjusting for age and medical conditions. In other words, given two patients with similar health-care needs—one a Medicare beneficiary over age 65, the other an individual under 65 who has private health insurance—the senior will use nearly 50% more care.” People who don’t have to pay full price consume more? Well, duh, Rocket Scientists! We needed a study to confirm what anyone who has ever been to an all-you-can-eat buffet already knows? To wit, don’t cut in front of the 300-pounders as they sashay up for more chicken fingers. It won’t be pretty.
But you’re different, right? You’re paying your premiums for your private insurance like a responsible citizen ought. Sorry, I don’t think you’re all that different. If you ask me, even private insurance (which I have) serves the purpose of, to quote our Pres., “spreading the wealth around.” Insurance depends on more people paying more money into the plan than goes out of the plan. In this, I cannot tell any difference between Medicare, Social Security and private insurance. It’s all “socialized.”
What we’ve got here is a system, and I use the word loosely, that no one can effectively control. Can you even influence the terms of “your” private insurance? If, Mr. Puter, you’re an incense-loving, funny-hat-wearing Catholic, can you opt out of subsidizing others’ birth control or vasectomies? Haven’t we had to resort to legislation to prevent convicted sex-offenders from getting Viagra from the VA or Medicare? Yep, I thought so.
Every miraculous advancement in medicine in the last 40 years has, indirectly and unintentionally, contributed to creating a “system” that is unsustainable. There’s just not enough money to provide everyone with every fabulous possibility. Back in the 40’s and 50’s, they could set your broken bones, give you penicillin, and take out your appendix. But open-heart surgery? Kidney transplants? Reattach a detached retina? Put a stent in your hypothetical 84-year-old Grandpa? Dream. On.
Is it possible for Obamacare to make this worse? Overall, I kinda doubt it. Because to quote Margaret Thatcher, they will “…run out of other people’s money.” Then what ought we to do? If they put me in charge, I’d pay for all vaccinations and pretty much anything for children. Easy decision. Viagra? Fertility treatments? Boob-jobs? You want it you buy it, paying 100% of the cost. Again, easy. Open-heart surgery for hypothetical 84-year-old Grandpa? Now we’re getting in “Death-panel” territory.
It’s the cost-shifting that causes all the problems. Why wouldn’t hypothetical 84-year-old Grandpa’s family avail themselves of all the “life-saving” treatments available when they won’t be responsible for paying the bills? What would a system look like that took basic care of the poor and the ill, while forcing individuals to be responsible for enough of the bills that they make somewhat rational decisions?
Non mortem timeo.
‘Puter agrees with JAB that cost-shifting does adversely impact our health care system. If we do not fully understand how much something costs, we will use more of it. If there is no effective limit on usage, usage will increase. It’s a good catch, and a point well made. ‘Puter’s got the same beef about our tax system, if you’re not paying, like a majority of Americans, you don’t care how high the rates are. This is further compounded by the lack of limits or cost of welfare to recipients, but that’s for another post.
And, like JAB, ‘Puter does not fear death, either.
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.