kunstler | If you thought banking in our time was a miserable racket — which it is, of course, and by “racket” I mean a criminal enterprise — then so-called health care has it beat by a country mile, with an added layer of sadism and cruelty built into its operations. Lots of people willingly sign onto mortgages and car loans they wouldn’t qualify for in an ethically sound society, but the interest rates and payments are generally spelled out on paper. They know what they’re signing on for, even if the contract is reckless and stupid on the parts of both borrower and lender. Pension funds and insurance companies foolishly bought bundled mortgage bonds of this crap concocted in the housing bubble. They did it out of greed and desperation, but a little due diligence would have clued them into the fraud being served up by the likes of Goldman Sachs.
Medicine is utterly opaque cost-wise, and that is the heart of the issue. Nobody in the system will say what anything costs and nobody wants to because it would break the spell that they work in an honest, legit business. There is no rational scheme for the cost of any service from one “provider” to the next or even one patient to the next. Anyway, the costs are obscenely inflated and concealed in so many deliberately deceptive coding schemes that even actuaries and professors of economics are confounded by their bills. The services are provided when the customer is under the utmost duress, often life-threatening, and the outcome even in a successful recovery from illness is financial ruin that leaves a lot of people better off dead.
It is a hostage racket, in plain English, a disgrace to the profession that has adopted it, and an insult to the nation. All the idiotic negotiations in congress around the role of insurance companies are a grand dodge to avoid acknowledging the essential racketeering of the “providers” — doctors and hospitals. We are never going to reform it in its current incarnation. For all his personality deformities, President Trump is right in saying that ObamaCare is going to implode. It is only a carbuncle on the gangrenous body of the US medical establishment. The whole system will go down with it.
The New York Times departed from its usual obsessions with Russian turpitude and transgender life last week to publish a valuable briefing on this aspect of the health care racket: Those Indecipherable Medical Bills? They’re One Reason Health Care Costs So Much by Elisabeth Rosenthal. Much of this covers ground exposed in the now famous March 4, 2013 Time Magazine cover story (it took up the whole issue): Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us, by Steven Brill. The American public and its government have been adequately informed about the gross and lawless chiseling rampant in every quarter of medicine. The system is one of engineered criminality. It is inflicting ruin on millions. It is really a wonder that the public has not stormed the hospitals with pitchforks and flaming brands to string up that gang in the parking lots high above their Beemers and Lexuses.