All these Americans (now the majority of the country) who want a more socialist health care system in the USA actually have a point… but not in the way you probably think.

As I’ve written about before, the United States has the worst health care system in the entire civilized world. Technologically, the quality of care is good (though not the best, since countries like Singapore have now surpassed the US in terms of tech and quality of care).

I’m talking instead about the economic aspects of the health care system. That is, who pays for the care, how they pay for it, and how much they pay.

The US doesn’t have a socialist health care system. (At least not yet. It’s coming.) It also doesn’t have a capitalist or free market health care system. It used to, way back in the 50s and 60s, when it was not only the highest quality health care in the world, but also one of the least expensive, and doctors actually came to your house(!). That’s what free market capitalism does. It drives down costs while increasing quality. But the US isn’t a capitalist country, and its health care system isn’t capitalist at all.

No, today the US is unique in that it has a corporatist health care system. As I analyzed here, corporatism is the opposite of capitalism and is even worse than socialism. Socialism sucks, and is an unworkable model in the long-term, but at least under socialism you receive some level of service regardless of your income. Capitalism is complicated in terms of how you handle society’s poor, but at least it provides inexpensive services at high quality to everyone.

Corporatism doesn’t have any of the benefits of either capitalism or socialism. Instead, it screws everyone except for the ultra-wealthy, as I’ve examined on this blog many times. Health care is no different.

Under a socialist health care system, everyone receives a low quality of care from a bankrupt, government-run health care system.

Under a capitalist health care system (which again, the USA does not have), most people receive inexpensive, high quality health care from the free market.

Under a corporatist health care system, no one receives quality care. Instead, everyone receives various levels of care ranging from horrible to decent, all of which is exorbitantly expensive and can only be paid by either the super-rich, big government (i.e., the taxpayer), or gigantic insurance companies. All three of these entities rip everyone off, poor, middle class, and upper class alike, to the enrichment of the elites. It’s the worst of all worlds.

I’ll tell you my latest encounter with America’s utterly ridiculous, worst-in-the-world health care system. This is but one of scores of real-life occurrences I could share, and I’m sure most of my fellow Americans can also share their horror stories with our health care system too. (Feel free to do so in the comments.)

Last summer, Pink Firefly was in searing pain and needed to go to the emergency room. This wasn’t those “I have a sniffle” or “My arm hurts” bullshit reasons that plague America’s corporatist ERs in hospitals all over the land. No, this was a legitimate use of the ER; she was in real pain and nothing else could be done for her.

We wanted to use an urgent care center since those are usually cheaper and less insane than going to a hospital. But it was in the evening and all the urgent care places near our home were closed. So, we had no other option than to go to the hospital. She worked for a large insurance company and thus had health insurance through her employer. No big deal. Or so we thought.

Went to the hospital emergency room, checked in, waited a while, I did my best to console her while she rocked back and forth in pain, the doctor saw her, ran a test or two, prescribed some pills, and we left. We spend a grand total of about 30 minutes actually in the doctor’s exam room.

Then we forgot all about it because covering that kind of thing is what insurance is for. That’s literally the only good thing about being an employee instead of owning your own business; your employer usually covers your health insurance. I, as a self-employed dude, have to purchase and manage my own insurance.

Several months later PF receives a bill in the mail from the hospital for $4,200.

WTF?

She calls the hospital to see what the hell is going on. She has health insurance. Why is she getting billed? And she only spent 30 minutes in the exam room; why did that cost $4,200?

Multiple calls, multiple transfers, waiting on hold forever, and so on. You know the drill.

Finally, we get the answer. The hospital sent the bill to her insurance company, but her insurance company denied the claim.

Great.

So then she has to call her insurance company.

Multiple calls, multiple transfers, waiting on hold forever, and so on. Again, you know the drill. Hours upon hours on the phone when you add all of it up.

Finally, she gets an answer. Emergency room visits “aren’t covered” on her insurance policy(!).

What? What good is fucking health insurance if it doesn’t cover emergency room visits? Isn’t that what it’s primarily for?

Arguing, arguing. Again, if you’re an American trapped in the worst health care system in the world, you know the drill.

The insurance company doesn’t budge. They won’t pay the $4,200 bill.

So now she has to call the hospital back to negotiate the bill. She was so exasperated at this point that I helped her out and called them myself. (I’m also more of an ass-kicker than she is and have more experience negotiating.)

I get on the phone. Multiple calls, multiple transfers, waiting on hold forever, and so on. You know the drill.

Finally, I get a human who can “help” me. I explain the situation, that PF will have to pay this bill since her insurance company won’t. As a self-employed guy who has been on “self-pay” most of my adult life, I know that most hospitals and doctor’s offices have a lower rate for when you, the patient, pay the bill directly instead of when they bill insurance companies.

That right there is part of the problem. Under America’s corporatist health care system, the more expensive everything is, the more it benefits each part of the system (doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, government, etc). Each part of the system does its best to rip off the other components. It’s actually designed to be expensive, much like America’s corporatist college system (but that’s a topic for another time).

So I go in expecting them to drop the price of the bill by 50% or more. Then, once they get the bill down to $2,000 instead of $4,200, I’ll pretend to be angry (since I never actually get angry) and loudly complain as to why a 30-minute doctor visit was $2,000 – $4,000 dollars. But one step at a time.

The summarized conversation went something like this:

Them: No, I’m sorry, we can’t change the billing on that since we billed the insurance company the insurance rate rather than the patient rate.

Me: I know. But the insurance company didn’t pay it.

Them: Correct.

Me: We’re paying it instead.

Them: Right.

Me: So you can give us the patient rate instead of the insurance company rate.

Them: No, we can’t sir, because it’s in the system under the insurance rate.

Me: Okay, then press whatever buttons that are on your screen there and change it.

Them: We can’t, sir.

Me: Your system will clearly show that the payment will be coming from her personal HSA debit card with her name on it, not an insurance company. So it will be on record that it will not be paid by an insurance company.

Them: I understand that sir, but I still can’t change it.

Long story short, they wouldn’t budge no matter what. Pink Firefly had to come up with a whopping $4,200 to pay for a 30-minute doctor visit when she was covered by insurance.

This would never have happened under a truly capitalist health care system. This would also never have happened under a socialist health care system. But because we have the worst health care system in the world, a corporatist one, it’s the worst of all worlds, and we in the Collapsing USA continue to get raped on a regular basis in ways no other country in the civilized world does.

And yes, of course socialism isn’t the answer. As I described in detail here, almost all of the other countries in the Western world who use a socialistic health care system are operating under government health care entities that have already gone bankrupt.

But where the Bernie Sanders types are correct is when they say that converting to a socialist health care system would be less bad than what we have now. To be objective and factual, they’re right. Again, what we have now is the worst of all worlds, so horrible as it sounds, Scandinavian-style socialism would be less bad.

Is that what I want? Of course not. Instead, we need to go back to the free market health care system the US was using back in the 50s and 60s, where it was just you and your doctor involved in the transaction, and that’s about it. Insurance companies were barely involved and the government wasn’t involved at all. I lay out one example of how this would work here.

The problem, and one of the many reasons socialism will soon prevail in the United States, is that people aren’t this knowledgeable, nor want to be. All they know is that they’re getting raped by a horrible health care system (and they are!) and they want something less bad. So when a Santa Claus guy like Bernie Sanders comes along and offers to just “have the government pay for it all,” these people love it and gleefully support it, even if they’re Republicans.

Enjoy the decline!

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39 Comments on “America’s Health Care System Is the Worst in the World

  1. so holla at singapore?

    too much to complain about. but ive had dentist and doctor’s shrug their shoulders when I ask them about preventive health. “it could get better, it could get worse, if so we’ll do surgery.” kinda mentality.

    This article alone is reason to detach from the system.

  2. ive had dentist and doctor’s shrug their shoulders when I ask them about preventive health. “it could get better, it could get worse, if so we’ll do surgery.” kinda mentality.

    Me too.

  3. ive had dentist and doctor’s shrug their shoulders when I ask them about preventive health.

    It’s that weird feeling when you’re most certainly asking an intelligent question and the other person gets that glazed over look in their eyes haha

  4. Damn, she ok?

    Also, I was trying to think how you could do something better, even if you were to KNOW IN ADVANCE this shit was going to happen and other than opt for the lower rate from the get go (which would likely still be exorbitant since it’s ER) I actually can’t think of anything.
    That’s the frightening part of all this. You’re fucked all the same even if you know you’re fucked.

  5. Sorry to hear that this happened!

    She worked for a large insurance company and thus had health insurance through her employer

    So just to clarify – her employer was the same insurance company that denied her claim under their employee insurance policy for going to the ER?

  6. Wife and I’ve been trying to have our second child, unfortunately miscarried twice. They found some kind of benign tumor in her uterus, we don’t know necessarily if that thing was depleting blood resources from the fetus, but we decided to get it removed anyway. Definitely ultra expensive — around $16,000 to do the surgery, not to mention all the doctor visits and consultations leading up to it. We are lucky I have insurance, but we still have to pay a large bill of over $3,000 after insurance pays their part.

    My dad also suffered a brain aneurysm after lifting weights in a gym on vacation in Sri Lanka, far far away from home in the U.S. We thought that he was going to die then and there; the local doctors at a hospital there told him he had less than 3 hours to live. Out of sheer luck and good fortune, a doctor visiting from the U.S. happened to be stationed there for a few months (helping less than fortunate people get access to good medicine — a real hero). He immediately took over my dad’s procedure and saved his life. We found out later he was one of the top 5 brain surgeons in the world. Because my dad was in Sri Lanka the bill only came to around $11k (for BRAIN SURGERY), and he was covered because he had purchased travel insurance. The only difficulty was getting all the paperwork done over email and scanning all the exams and receipts to the insurance agency, but they came through and my dad was saved because of a great doctor, an inexpensive hospital who actually cared for him and nursed him back to health. If my dad had had his surgery in the US, I am sure they would have let him die and charged our family over $100k. FUCK OUR SYSTEM.

    I am now even more convinced your five flags theory is right and prob the only SAFE way to get out of the hell hole system that is the US Healthcare. Our politicians won’t and can’t save us — they are bribed by corporatists who don’t care about the well being of the citizen, rather just getting as much money as possible screwing everyone here until we have NO MONEY, NO PROTECTION, NO RIGHTS and our country goes back to slavery, serfdom pre-civil war. Thinking about it makes my blood boil, but hey — I have to keep stress free right — don’t want to be the latest victim in an emergency room. Here’s to your health!

  7. Correction, you don’t have a system at all. When the healthcare isn’t covered and the doctors are allowed to charge whether they want and insurances can exclude essential things from policy at they’re own convenience you cannot call this a system. It’s on the level of anarchy / third world country.

    So, you don’t have the worst system because you do not have any system at all with healthcare.

    I wonder though what happens if you refuse to pay? Do they have to take you to court? What happens in court then?

    Can’t you use your credit card buyer protection cover: normally you are covered against unreasonable charges you did not agree to in advanced when via credit card. So say, you could come in to the doctor and just swipe your card and then they try to charge your card and if you get unreasonable amount you didn’t agree to in advance you tell your credit card to block it and they cover any problems after that because then its between the credit card company and the shop… that’s approximately how it works with everything else so why not here?

  8. That’s BS about them not being able to change an account in their system, you need to speak with someone higher up. The billing clerks are largely low level data entry types. Your’re not going to find creative solutions from them or even their managers sadly enough. It is in their best interests to get the money however they can rather than have it go to collections. Source: I work for a medical group and our billing company does reversals and re-entrys for all types of different situations.

    I’ve also never heard of employee health plans not covering ER. Maybe after the deductible was met?

  9. Exactly. In fact, reading this blog made me give a final middle finger for corporatist, corrupt, pig-like insurance company and open my quasi alpha 2.0 cash-only private medical practice. Patients and myself couldn’t be happier. Capitalist health care is the way to go. I’m able to make my clients hard earned dollars go FAR, FAR beyond what these giant fat corporate pigs can or care to provide.

  10. Damn, she ok?

    Yeah she’s fine now. She took just some antibiotics and she was fine.

    That’s another problem; antibiotics are illegal to purchase at the store in the US. Insane. You have to see a fucking doctor in order to get them. In Mexico, you can just walk into any store and buy them yourself. And they’re pretty cheap too.

    Also, I was trying to think how you could do something better, even if you were to KNOW IN ADVANCE this shit was going to happen and other than opt for the lower rate from the get go (which would likely still be exorbitant since it’s ER) I actually can’t think of anything.

    That’s the frightening part of all this. You’re fucked all the same even if you know you’re fucked.

    Exactly. I always expect massive problems when you have to go in for any doctors appointment, and even then you’re still screwed.

    So just to clarify – her employer was the same insurance company that denied her claim under their employee insurance policy for going to the ER?

    No. She worked for a life insurance company, not a health insurance company.

    I am now even more convinced your five flags theory is right and prob the only SAFE way to get out of the hell hole system that is the US Healthcare.

    Yeah, the next piece of my plan is to research out-of-the-USA health care insurance plans and clinics. My goal is to have nothing to do with the US health care system unless it’s something optional that I choose to do AND I can pay the doctor directly with no middlemen whatsoever (no hospitals, insurance companies, etc).

    Our politicians won’t and can’t save us — they are bribed by corporatists who don’t care about the well being of the citizen

    Correct.

    Correction, you don’t have a system at all. When the healthcare isn’t covered and the doctors are allowed to charge whether they want and insurances can exclude essential things from policy at they’re own convenience you cannot call this a system. It’s on the level of anarchy / third world country.

    So, you don’t have the worst system because you do not have any system at all with healthcare.

    You just contradicted your own statement. We do have a system: giant government and giant insurance companies that jack up prices but don’t cover everything. That’s our (horrible) system.

    “No system” would mean a 100% pure capitalist free-market system which would have some problems but which I would love.

    I wonder though what happens if you refuse to pay? Do they have to take you to court? What happens in court then?

    They destroy your credit. The could take you to court if the amount was large enough, sure.

    Can’t you use your credit card buyer protection cover: normally you are covered against unreasonable charges you did not agree to in advanced when via credit card. So say, you could come in to the doctor and just swipe your card and then they try to charge your card and if you get unreasonable amount you didn’t agree to in advance you tell your credit card to block it and they cover any problems after that because then its between the credit card company and the shop… that’s approximately how it works with everything else so why not here?

    No, because you are informed of the exact amount of the charge before you choose to pay it with your credit card.

    That’s BS about them not being able to change an account in their system, you need to speak with someone higher up. The billing clerks are largely low level data entry types. Your’re not going to find creative solutions from them or even their managers sadly enough. It is in their best interests to get the money however they can rather than have it go to collections. Source: I work for a medical group and our billing company does reversals and re-entrys for all types of different situations.

    How many hours of my personal time would that have taken? To navigate that corporate nightmare and get to an upper level VP (or whomever) to complain to and then actually get him to lower the charge? Especially when even managers couldn’t help me.

    Eventually you have to make a time management judgement call.

    I’ve also never heard of employee health plans not covering ER. Maybe after the deductible was met?

    Her deductible wasn’t met. I don’t remember the specific reason they used but “not covering ER visits” (or certain kinds of ER visits?) was their excuse.  Maybe they thought it wasn’t a “valid” use of the ER?

    Who knows. Don’t care at this point. In 18 months I’m outta here.

    In fact, reading this blog made me give a final middle finger for corporatist, corrupt, pig-like insurance company and open my quasi alpha 2.0 cash-only private medical practice. Patients and myself couldn’t be happier.

    Well done. I’m getting a lot of email from Alpha 2.0 doctors lately. My testosterone guy runs the same type of practice. He loves it.

  11. By this standard – especially if you have the option as a self employed business owner – isn’t it better just to not have any health insurance and to pay out of pocket negotiated with the hospitals and providers instead?

  12. It’s hard to negotiate if you have emergency or if they already did the treatment.

  13. @osman That’s what I do, it’s too much work if you’re healthy to figure out what’s actually covered. It changes drastically every year and the system is packed with traps. BD’s story only scratches the surface.

    Your contingency plan is to fly to another country for treatment or move to a new state to get a sign up window exemption (you get an exemption when you move). That way your very worst contingency is only something immediate (like a car crash).

    If you’re going to stay in the US being VERY healthy is one of the best investments of time and money you can make.

  14. Something to be aware of too, other countries are starting to model their healthcare systems after the US because of how profitable it is for the elites. UK has already taken concrete steps.

    China already has a worse system than the US, you can’t get quality care AND it’s expensive.

    Good healthcare might be a thing of the past in the next 10-20 years for the average person. Plan appropriately.

  15. By this standard – especially if you have the option as a self employed business owner – isn’t it better just to not have any health insurance and to pay out of pocket negotiated with the hospitals and providers instead?

    Yes. That is what I do. I have a catastrophic high-deductible health insurance plan (in case something horrible happens like I get cancer) that I never use, and pay all of my doctor visits myself out of pocket with an HSA debit card (since it’s tax deductible).

    If you’re going to stay in the US being VERY healthy is one of the best investments of time and money you can make.

    Absolutely. This is exactly why I go out of my way to check my blood work all the time, get frequent physicals, exercise every day, drink lots of water, get lots of sleep, take lots of vitamins, and so on.

    Good healthcare might be a thing of the past in the next 10-20 years for the average person. Plan appropriately.

    Decades ago one of my mentors told me that in the future (i.e. now) you would probably have to be a millionaire in order to get quality health care whenever you needed it. He wasn’t that far off.

  16. When I was a kid (70s) we didnt have a ton of money — my Dad was a laborer — and when I was sick my Mom paid the doctor in cash. So it couldn’t have been much. I remember we had “major medical” just in case we had to go to the hospital – but doctors and dentists were cash and check on the spot.

    When i had chicken pox I was so sick my Mom wanted to take me to the hospital for high fever, the doctor stopped by on his way home instead. This was around 1971 or so.

    By the time I was working in corporate America (1987) it was all HMOs and big insurance. It didn’t take long to ruin that.

  17. There is a trick most people don’t know about. I wont go into the morality of this trick but I believe it is actually morally superior to go with this trick than to pay the bill. The trick is basically to not pay it, at all. Yes it will show up on your credit report as a collection, it will ding your credit as well. But Medical collections are the easiest collections to get removed from your credit report. And they don’t even count against you as a liability when you try to get a loan! So you default, tell them you aren’t paying, maybe even give a fake number at the Hospital so no debt collectors. And once you know it is in collections, then you hire a credit repair company for $500 to remove it from your credit report. Medical is the easiest to get removed from your credit report because for each item on your credit report that is medical, the collection agency needs 95 pieces of information, and they NEVER have all 95 pieces of information. A good credit repair company (and most are scams) will not dispute and say it isn’t yours, they will simply ask for all 95 items.When it comes down to it, there are people who would rather take their chances and pass away than to get $50,000 in debt. And its heartbreaking even people with insurance who mean well get a bad beat. If i had to choose between paying $30,000 and having bad credit for a year, I would go the bad credit route in a heartbeat! So if its life or death, don’t sweat it, prioritize your health, and if friends and family are nice enough to visit you in the hospital, buy them all the salmon dinner, put it on your tab.

  18. There is a trick most people don’t know about. I wont go into the morality of this trick but I believe it is actually morally superior to go with this trick than to pay the bill. The trick is basically to not pay it, at all. Yes it will show up on your credit report as a collection, it will ding your credit as well. But Medical collections are the easiest collections to get removed from your credit report. And they don’t even count against you as a liability when you try to get a loan! So you default, tell them you aren’t paying, maybe even give a fake number at the Hospital so no debt collectors. And once you know it is in collections, then you hire a credit repair company for $500 to remove it from your credit report. Medical is the easiest to get removed from your credit report because for each item on your credit report that is medical, the collection agency needs 95 pieces of information, and they NEVER have all 95 pieces of information. A good credit repair company (and most are scams) will not dispute and say it isn’t yours, they will simply ask for all 95 items.When it comes down to it, there are people who would rather take their chances and pass away than to get $50,000 in debt. And its heartbreaking even people with insurance who mean well get a bad beat. If i had to choose between paying $30,000 and having bad credit for a year, I would go the bad credit route in a heartbeat! So if its life or death, don’t sweat it, prioritize your health, and if friends and family are nice enough to visit you in the hospital, buy them all the salmon dinner, put it on your tab.

    Yeah I guess its immoral but its also immoral and unreasonable they can charge any random prices they want without limit or that insurances can refuse to pay. There is often the comment what if everyone did that. Well in this case if everyone did that they’d be forced to change the system, so you could make an argument you’re doing something good here.

    I don’t live in the us but from what I see if its non emergency the best is to travel abroad for medical stuff. I recently saw a post by someone saying that for the price of hip replacement in the us he can fly to spain have it done there and live in Madrid for 2 years then fly back to us and still save money. Such price differences are just beyond ludicurous and cannot be justified.

  19. I agree with your position on a philosophical level. Free market is always better, absolutely.

    But it is worth mentioning that private healthcare is still available in countries with socialized healthcare.

    I live in a EU country. Healthcare is bankrupt and inefficient as you would expect. But it’s there. And if you have the money, you can always go private (and it’s world class).

    Plus prices are nowhere near as insane as they are in the US, since it’s not an insurance racket. Last time I needed a specialist I paid like 50 bucks (called in at 5pm, got my appointment at 7pm). Those 4k would probably buy you brain surgery or something.

    I’m also pretty sure you can have the national healthcare system to subsidize it.

    The best combination available in the world right now, practically speaking, would be a country with socialized healthcare and world-class private options.

    You guys in the US have it rough. Ridiculous there are (unpaid) people who actually defend that system.

  20. But it is worth mentioning that private healthcare is still available in countries with socialized healthcare.

    I know, but that has little to do with what I wrote in the article, nor do I support these mixed systems. They’re just another variation of bad.

  21. Like the guy above said, just don’t pay it and then have a legit debt settlement compmany take care of it for a fraction of the cost. Ive done it multiple times.

    Another trick ive read about, but not tried, was to not pay it and then right before the hospital sells your debt to a debt collection agency, go buy the debt yourself for pennies on the dollar. You now own your own debt and can just “forgive” the debt. Not sure if this actually works. I do know for a fact that you can buy other peoples debts but I have no idea what the process is.

  22. so wheres the Ferrari of top shelf health care? Im not into cars but I’d be into this. Im not into cars but having the best in the world doctors would be worthy imo.

  23. Like the guy above said, just don’t pay it and then have a legit debt settlement compmany take care of it for a fraction of the cost. Ive done it multiple times.

    True, that will probably work. It would fuck up your credit, but I don’t do debt so I don’t care. Other normal people (PF included) would have a hard time with that though. There is massive false American Societal Programming about “OMG don’t screw up your credit!”

    so wheres the Ferrari of top shelf health care?

    Google cash-only doctors. There’s another more professional term for that but it escapes me at the moment. Also Google medical tourism.

  24. if you’re an American trapped in the worst health care system in the world, you know the drill.

    Yup, the drill is to get the fuck out of the USA as soon as possible

  25. I have a catastrophic high-deductible health insurance plan (in case something horrible happens like I get cancer) that I never use, and pay all of my doctor visits myself out of pocket with an HSA debit card (since it’s tax deductible).

    How much does this insurance plan cost you per year or per month?

    I am from europe with a mixed system, and I recently ditched my european private health insurance for an international health insurance (because I am nomad). I used the same logic as you, to take a cheap health insurance plan just in case something horrible happems to me such as a road accident for instance. But I don’t actually know if I did a good choice.

    I took IMG europe LTD’s “Global Fusion FMU” that costs me 569€ for one year. It’s very basic, covers worldwiide without limit of duration of stay, except for North America, China, Singapore and Japan which are restricted to 30 days of stay. The area of coberage corresponds to my needs.

    I found it very difficult to understand what the hell these insurances are covering or not,they use a lot of specialised words. Both in my language or english. I still have only a very vage idea of what this insurance covers.

    Generally speaking I always have the feeling that insurances policies are a huge scam and that they always fuck me and never pay for anything they pretemd to insure. There is always a hidden special reasom why the insuramce doesn’t apply in this case, and like Pink Firenfly, you end up fucked.

    I segue off topic into the insurance for my property : I had a water leak relaterproblem not caused by me but by another part of the building. those insurance crooks told me that I have to pay for the fixing. I had to go on the internet, search for this very common case on the goverment website, and copy paste them the law to show those fucking crooks that they are required by law to pay and I don’t have to pay anything. I mean, it’s a water leak problem,the most common housong property related problem and they still tried to fuck me up with it.

  26. I’m a liberal but our health insurance is so F’ed up, I’m willing to go to a 100% capitalist free market system, because even that would be a massive improvement from the clusterF we have right now.

    Of course, that won’t happen for the foreseeable future. Doctors themselves benefit from the massive graft in some way. But also insurance execs, hospital administrators, etc. The entire complex benefits. Only the average citizen would have to fight back, and good luck with that.

    Why would an industry who is essentially allowed to charge literally anything after the fact, with constant moronic “policies” and “loopholes” like you mentioned, change their ways? The current system works great for them. It’s a tangled mess of graft. You see one doctor “in network” after looking him up in a labrynthal list, then an “out of network” screwball steps in for one hot minute (against your will, of course) and BAM.

    A pure, 100% capitalist system again — capitalism has its problems (mainly unregulated capitalism leads to anti-competitive practices if the rules are not enforced) — would be better than the horrific mess we have right now.

  27. That’s another problem; antibiotics are illegal to purchase at the store in the US. Insane. You have to see a fucking doctor in order to get them.

    This particular thing, however, is very much sane. The reason is drug resistance. If people use antibiotics whenever they want to, things like MRSA are the result. For example, whenever someone gets malaria, the standard protocol all over the world is give them a mixture of multiple anti-malarial drugs and don’t discharge them until multiple consecutive blood tests show a grand total of zero plasmodia. If people would instead just go to the drugstore, purchase some artemisinin and stop taking it when they stop feeling the symptoms, artemisinin-resistant malaria would inevitably arise… shudder.

    This is much like mandatory vaccination. In certain areas free choice is the insane option.

  28. This particular thing, however, is very much sane. The reason is drug resistance.

    No. No, no, no. If you want to fuck up your own body and develop an antibiotic resistance, that’s your business, not mine, and certainly not the government’s. The government is not your daddy or your babysitter.

    By your argument, alcohol should be illegal, because someone might get drunk and kill someone.  That’s a nanny-state argument. No.

    Your body belongs to you and no one else, and government has no right to tell you want to do with it, even if what you do with it is something someone else considers horrible.

  29. No. No, no, no. If you want to fuck up your own body and develop an antibiotic resistance, that’s your business, not mine, and certainly not the government’s. The government is not your daddy or your babysitter.

    I think you misunderstand. The previous post is a little confusing, but he is not talking about a person developing a resistance to an antibiotic. He’s talking about the bacteria itself developing the resistance and then being immune to the same drug the next time, when someone else gets sick.

    This is potentially a *huge* problem because we are nearing end of the road of usefulness for all current antibiotics. Imagine going back to a world where it is not uncommon to die from an infection after even a minor surgery. That’s where we’d be without antibiotics.

    Morons going to the store, buying antibiotics off-the-shelf, and using them incorrectly fuck over the entire world, not just themselves. At the same time, doctors are morons too and overprescribe them. In the USA they even give them to chickens and cows. It’s a giant clusterfuck of stupidity that might have been slowed by some stricter regulation. (And it takes a lot for me to say that because believe me, I want the government to be as small as possible too.)

    Google antibiotic resistance if you want more information.

  30. Even if you’re right, and let’s say you are, trying to re-engineer society via government laws is still not the answer.

    It would be the very laws passed to prevent such a thing that would exacerbate it (per your example of doctors pricing them too high).

  31. The drug resistance is real
    I have talked to guys that use their wife’s unfinished expired perscription medicines just because…?

    Total stupidity that makes things worse for everyone

  32. The drug resistance is real

    I’m sure it is. Irrelevant to my argument.

    I have talked to guys that use their wife’s unfinished expired perscription medicines just because…?

    They are idiots, which is allowed in a free society.

  33. Even if you’re right, and let’s say you are, trying to re-engineer society via government laws is still not the answer.

    Are laws against theft and murder also attempts to “re-engineer society” and therefore “not the answer”?

  34. On the topic of taking care of one’s self and all the things you do to maintain proper health, I would love to see an update on your current vitamins regimen. Including what brands you prefer and why. There are just so many. Would be great to know how you go about picking which ones you think are best given all the additional (and possibly unnecessary) ingredients they put in supplements other than the vitamin you’re after. Agreed, the US healthcare system is the worst and I want to do everything I can to avoid using it.

  35. Are laws against theft and murder also attempts to “re-engineer society” and therefore “not the answer”?

    So you’re equating committing murder with being allowed to take some medicine. That should tell you something about your argument.

    On the topic of taking care of one’s self and all the things you do to maintain proper health, I would love to see an update on your current vitamins regimen.

    Good idea! Added.

  36. So you’re equating committing murder with being allowed to take some medicine. That should tell you something about your argument.

    You’re overreacting. Imagine something way milder yet still unlawful, like shoplifting. (Though if you’re interested in following that tangent, consider how easy it is to provide enough bad medical advice to cause a death.) Or better yet, feeding feral dogs. Or piling flammable junk close to the property of others. Or failing to exterminate pests and have them spread into neighboring houses. All those actions infringe on the rights of other people and are to be addressed as such.

  37. You’re overreacting.

    I’m pretty sure I’m not the one who attempted to introduce murder into a conversation about buying antibiotics.

    Imagine something way milder yet still unlawful, like shoplifting.

    Unfortunately, we are forced to use government to protect citizens against others directly aggressing against someone else’s person or property. I really wish we didn’t need government at all, but unfortunately we need it for that. Murder, assault, theft, etc.

    But we don’t need it for anything else. Using the force of government to try to “fix” anything and everything you disagree with emotionally, from alcohol to gay marriage to antibiotics to whatever else, will just cause massive waste, fraud, abuse, and problems, and not actually fix anything, as history has clearly shown.

  38. I have disengaged from the USA health insurance system after experiencing and witnessing enough horror stories to convince me that paying for ‘health insurance’ (actually a managed health care system that has insurance company structure — insanity) in this country is a complete waste of my money, even in the event of a low probability, high impact medical event. The main reason is as was exemplified in the post; the entire system works by denying all–even legitimate–claims and counting on claimants to have neither the time nor money to fight for and get what they have paid for and what is rightfully theirs.
    It’s a system based on scaring people into buying ‘health insurance’ and then bullying them into getting nothing for it.
    I think the light-bulb moment for me was when I had a doctor order a blood test for me, one that I have ordered for myself through the Private MD Labs service and the insurance denied it. I found that the listed price for the test was $400 for the insurance claim when I pay $99 for the exact same test from the exact same lab when I buy it on my own. It was then that I realized that these companies get to tell customers that they are receiving benefits that actually worth only 25% of what they claim, and stingily fighting paying even for those. What a racket.
    Better to pay out of pocket, in another country that has good quality care at more reasonable costs (like Panama or Thailand).
    And what happens if I get in some accident or get cancer and I have a $100,000 medical bill coming at me? Well, it might be tough but having to spend all my limited energy fighting with some insurance company instead of recovering my health and working to earn that money and move on with my life doesn’t seem like a good option. Plus I get to save money now and bank toward an uncertain future instead of pissing it into ‘health insurance’.
    Oh and my credit rating? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I don’t give a solitary fuck about my credit rating. I’m proud it’s so low, shows that I’ve freely told large companies to go fuck themselves when they tried to screw me over, and it also removes any temptation I have to get myself into debt. If I really need to I have a bank-issued credit card with an insanely high limit. Shoot me if I’m ever stupid enough to get into that much debt though.

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