“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin
“He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” – Patrick Henry
I don’t think Ben was talking about health or health insurance; or was he? We learned from last post that health insurance is just another “protection racket” that is legal. You will buy health insurance or we will “hurt” you! – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. Health on the other hand is what we would like to have as no one wants to be ill. However, no amount of money will stop the inevitable. That is; death will ultimately catch up to us. Have we traded our liberty for safety?
There are multiple questions now weighing on us like a load of rock on our backs in a slave quarry. How does only about fifty cents out of every dollar we spend on health insurance actually comes back to us for provider care? In other words, why do we give away fifty cents out of every dollar to someone for managing our health dollars? How did we get to this insurance economy? Why does government allow this type of protection racket to continue?
After a bit of research, how we got to this economy is easy. It was through government’s rules and laws. During the forties, wages were fixed for WWII. The labor market was short of workers. In order to draw qualified people to jobs, companies started to offer benefit packages. Then during the early fifty’s, the government passed a law that allowed these benefit packages to not be taxed for employees and were allowed as an expense by companies. After this, insurance was driven by employers because this was the best deal created by tax structure. Laws were also passed allowing states great leeway in setting laws and practices within states. This created a monopoly by states as health insurance was not transportable state to state.
Health insurance then became a significant portion of the economy. Jobs were created to handle money for health insurance. This segment, health insurance, became as large as the health industry. To hide this from voters, this segment of the economy was all lumped together. The desire for health between birth and death became a desire to maintain this segment because it drove campaign funds. Now, there is over a trillion dollars spent every year solely for health security. Combined with the cost of health providers, this is now about two and one half trillion dollars that we spend each year.
Does this type of economy build wealth? I really do not think that it does. It transfers wealth from the middle class to the upper class. As a member of a country club from the mid-80’s until I could no longer afford it from my own economic health disaster, members that were the wealthiest all were in insurance. From the 1960’s through the 2000’s, the real wealth creators of the economy, farming and manufacturing, were driven from the country. It became the burden of government to maintain jobs. Health and Human Services under the Administration and funded by Congress begin to protect health insurance jobs through the policy of “markets before mandates.” In other words the economy is more important than your health. “To valued life” became the last of the priorities for principles of government health services.
It is truly amazing to take a drive from Buffalo, NY to Toronto and observe all the manufacturing plants along the highway. The decision of locating a plant in the northern part of the US has become a no-brainer as to whether it goes into Canada or the US. Health is covered by the Canadian government and taxes are less. The Canadians have made significant policy corrections since the 1980’s. Their economy is much more stable than the US because it is based on manufacturing and not insurance.
So what did this US policy toward health do to American’s life expectancy? It made us about fortieth in the world. Look at Mary Meeker’s State of USA, Inc. graph from last post. We have the best health care for acute disease, but one of the worst for chronic disease. We have separated the practice of medicine into only drugs for treating illness because of the government policies. We have to keep a relatively ill population to support the economics of large health and health insurance sector. Does keeping the population riddled with chronic disease build wealth? I do not think so.
The correction is going to be hard. We spend 2.5 trillion annually on health insurance and health while spending only 1.5 trillion on food. This ratio of food to health should be turned upside down. For a healthy US, farming and manufacturing have to be brought back to this country. The practice of stealing from family farms and causing them to fail through death taxes while allowing health insurance to bloom through tax protection has to stop. The maintenance of the health insurance complex has truly become a burden as well as a dilemma – health insurance jobs versus health. I believe at this point, term limits in Congress is the only solution so that people will be put first and not institutions. My own health was caught up in this practice of health insurance and would have killed or kept me in a significantly ill state if not for nutritional intervention. How about your health? – Pandemic Survivor