It’s OK, you can blame the doctors.

 

If healthcare was truly working, it would be putting itself out of business.

I can buy guns. LOTS of guns. No questions asked. But if I want to buy a prescription strength ibuprofen, I need to talk to a doctor first. There is something basically wrong with that.

It’s rather odd that in the healthcare debate doctors seem to be sliding out of shouldering any of the blame. I don’t see them on talk shows answering questions as to why their services are so hard to navigate, why their prices are so high, why prices are dictated by insurance companies and corporations, or why their profession is the third leading cause of death. Yeah, that’s right. THE THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN AMERICA IS DUE TO MEDICAL MISTAKES. Look–>here. Or here.  

This does not begin to take into account the amount of people who die every year as a result of the physician started opioid epidemic. Or the Type II Diabetes epidemic started by the deluge of sugar rich food pumped into the veins of Americans–physicians didn’t speak out about that either. 

All other professionals are held accountable when there is gross negligence in their field. Automakers: reference the recent Volkswagen scandal or Takata airbag issue. Justice system: reference any number of cases of abuse of power either through police officers or court officials. Industry: when a company is found to be releasing toxic chemicals into the environment or putting out a dangerous product they must answer in court. Doctors? Nah, they largely get a pass and we just keep booking appointments in the most antiquated system available to consumers. Sure there are lawsuits, but is there massive fines, social stigma or overall loss of business and revenue? No.

Have you ever noticed that there is no price list in a doctor’s office? In the Emergency Room? Hanging at the end of the hospital bed? Why? Because it is all a shell game. You pay one price, your neighbor pays another, and insurance companies pay yet another. This is done intentionally to keep the prices a floating mystery so no one is able to compare prices and comparison shop. Hospitals and medical professionals will tell you that they have no idea what the cost is of their services. Emergency Room docs literally don’t know how much each test they order costs, and this is also intentional. Can’t have the patient making informed choices or doctors not ordering unnecessary tests when a patient’s ability to pay is a concern; that would make too much sense. Just rack it up and send the bill via mail a week later.

Is there any other business we interact with where we order goods and services without knowing the price? No. It is bullshit that we allow healthcare to get away with it.

Look at how Amazon has revolutionized shopping. Uber taxis. Airbnb accommodations. Why have doctors not produced the same innovations in their own space? Because they would have to compete with one another, and lose money. In fact some doctors are actively trying to stop technology that would lower costs and be of great efficiency. Optometrists are at this very moment trying to use the power of the state to block innovation in their space. Basically, an App could provide a diagnosis and give a patient the prescription for glasses without the need for a visit to the optometrist. The test is still read by a licensed professional, but some are trying to use the power of the state to stop such innovation and force customers to accept less convenience for more money.  Look here.

Always remember that doctors use the power of the state to force their services and solidify their position. You cannot buy prescriptions without seeing them. You cannot order a variety of medical products without their approval. Yet guns and booze are open for everyone. See the problem? Medical professionals sacrifice a lot to take care of their fellow human beings and their achievements and altruism should be commended, but they should also be willing to take the blame when things go sideways. And looking around, the healthcare system seems sideways.

The Need for Drugs

Go to any football game and you have 100,000 drunks, boozed up, smoking cigarettes, watching 22 athletes that are supposedly clean. –Louis Simmons

It always makes me laugh when I hear pundits rail against the legalization of marijuana. Take your pick of conservative pundits and they will more than likely be against the ‘drug dealers’ who have moved into states and communities that have chosen to legalize the plant. They will drone on about the dangers of marijuana, all the while remaining eerily silent on the topic of prescription drug abuse, alcohol abuse, tobacco, gambling, cheeseburgers and whatever else you want to add to this list.

These are the same pundits who think nothing of taking their children to a professional sporting event- where the ads for a mass-produced beer are countless and no one in attendance doubts that their favorite athlete is taking a little something extra to win that day.

Steroid and performance enhancing drugs is widely talked about and accepted in athletics, even though those substances are illegal. Look to the bodybuilding world or the recent Olympic Russian scandal as confirmation of this. Why are the police not arresting Olympians as they get off the track? Why are cops not corralling bodybuilders into cages off stage and handing them a summons? I will tell you why- because that drug use is accepted.

It is just as accepted as the piles of compounds and supplements available in any health food store. Miles and miles of containers containing ‘proprietal blends’ of who-knows-what and how-much. It is just as accepted as hordes of Spring-Breakers or Mardi-Gras-Goers doing kegs stands in the street, and just as accepted as your local pharmacy- killing more people with opiates than any warlord could dream.

Then we have the non-accepted drugs. Marijuana, despite continued evidence for help with seizures, PTSD and other maladies. MDMA or ecstasy, even though there are people studying its’ potential benefits to the human race. Peyote, illegal unless your religion calls for use of the drug- then an exception can be provided for. DMT, mescaline, LSD. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I find it odd that mind altering drugs are banned, and mind numbing drugs are not. Is there a war on changing consciousness?  If people could take a drug that makes them see themselves as part of the species and not separate from the whole, is that bad? Is the crime smoking a joint or locking up that person?

Graham Hancock breaks down the breach Colorado stepped into and the path blazed for other states.  

Drugs have allowed us to perform surgery on one another without pain, have brought couples together, torn lives apart, and both saved and killed babies. There is a reason that “one barrel of wine can work more miracles than a church full of saints.” -Italian Proverb.

Our species has been seeking out mind altering alternatives since that first rotten fermented fruit was eaten. Since the first peyote button was chomped on. It is time to be adults about the chemical compounds that surround us. We need education, not fear.
The drug we really need is truth – and the truth is we need drugs. 

Somewhere between the Tribe and the Chisel

The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak.--Spinoza
The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak.–Spinoza

There are times in human history when we would have burned the CEO of Mylan at the stake. Then set fire to the Mylan offices. We would not have allowed a person to walk among us that exploited the entire species for their personal gain. Anyone caught stealing from the community would have been dealt with swiftly.

The same could be said for the CEO of Wells Fargo. A firing squad for this one perhaps. If any one of us had stolen private information from someone else and opened fraudulent accounts in their name we would be facing jail time. If anyone of us had withheld life saving medication from our child while they suffocated in front of us, we would be charged with murder. However in America when you do it for the good of the shareholders or the bottom line, well that’s legal.

Now take a look at any local Gofundme page. You will see the majority of the money being raised is for people’s medical bills. If you take the time to peruse the donations you will see lots of ‘anonymous’ donors. People want to help others, help them live. They understand that these are good people who contribute to our world. The types of people we want procreating. The types we want across the street. And these types are now for all the world to see swallowing their pride and begging for money so they can get medical treatment. Treatment that might not even work. That is the type of world we live in. Where it is cheaper to die. That is your reality and mine. Somewhere between the tribe and the chisel.

(I tell you, if I ever get cancer and cannot afford it I will not put that burden on my family. I will simply walk into a bank with an unloaded gun, brandish it, lay down and wait. Let them cuff me and take the plea deal, then all of my cancer treatment will be free. That is also my retirement plan. In my jail cell I can sleep all night, workout, have three free meals a day– sounds better than a Walmart greeter. There is the shower concern, but that would at least be a literal fuck rather than the one the Waltons give you.)

There is very little ‘tribe’ left in us. A sense of belonging, a sense that we need one another. You can see little pockets of this throughout our culture when a group of people ascribe to some workout routine or pastime. You may even hear these groups referred to as ‘cults.’  But they are just looking for that tribe that left us somewhere after World War II. Somewhere it became acceptable to ‘chisel’ on your neighbor for some monetary gain.  

I know you. You are working hard, maybe have kids. Maybe you don’t. You think there is still some justice or community in the world but you cannot venture out to embrace it because everyday you have your head down, just trying to secure a future for you and your own. Trying to avoid the next scam, the next chisel strike. I get it. I am there too. This is not how we were made nor how we should be living. Nothing in the American way of life gives up the chills and connections found in other cultures.

It might because we no longer need one another for the day to day. Only in crisis or some outside threat. Then we forget ourselves in service of others, but once the threat is gone we immediately go back to the focus on the self.  Maybe. I don’t have any real answers for you, but I would look to today’s tribe. The Native Americans being the only real tribes left standing. There was a reason so many settlers left the frontier to embrace the life of what was only known then as the life of the ‘savage.’  So much so even Ben Franklin wrote about it. What did they discover that we are now missing?

“When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and makes one Indian ramble with them, there is no persuading him ever to return. [But] when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived a while among them, tho’ ransomed by their friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a short time they become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good opportunity of escaping again into the woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them.” -Ben Franklin