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Bitter Pill: The Exorbitant Prices Of Health Care

Tyler Durden's picture


Instead of asking the endless question of "who should pay for healthcare?" Time magazine's cover story this week by Steve Brill asks a much more sensible - and disturbing question - "why does healthcare cost so much?" While it will not come as a surprise to any ZeroHedge reader - as we most recently noted here - this brief clip on the outrageous pricing and egregious profits that are destroying our health care quickly summarizes just how disastrous the situation really is.  A simplified perspective here is simple, as with higher education costs and student loans: since all the expenses incurred are covered by debt/entitlements, there is no price discrimination which allows vendors to hike prices to whatever levels they want. From the $21,000 heartburn to "giving our CT scans like candy," Brill concludes "put simply, with Obamacare we’ve changed the rules related to who pays for what, but we haven’t done much to change the prices we pay."


Via Time,

The $21,000 Heartburn Bill

One night last summer at her home near Stamford, Conn., a 64-year-old former sales clerk whom I’ll call Janice S. felt chest pains. She was taken four miles by ambulance to the emergency room at Stamford Hospital, officially a nonprofit institution. After about three hours of tests and some brief encounters with a doctor, she was told she had indigestion and sent home. That was the good news. The bad news was the bill: $995 for the ambulance ride, $3,000 for the doctors and $17,000 for the hospital — in sum, $21,000 for a false alarm.

"Giving out CT Scans like candy..."

The costs associated with high-tech tests are likely to accelerate. McKinsey found that the more CT and MRI scanners are out there, the more doctors use them. In 1997 there were fewer than 3,000 machines available, and they completed an average of 3,800 scans per year. By 2006 there were more than 10,000 in use, and they completed an average of 6,100 per year. According to a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, the use of CT scans in America’s emergency rooms “has more than quadrupled in recent decades.” As one former emergency-room doctor puts it, “Giving out CT scans like candy in the ER is the equivalent of putting a 90-year-old grandmother through a pat-down at the airport: Hey, you never know.”


Selling this equipment to hospitals — which has become a key profit center for industrial conglomerates like General Electric and Siemens — is one of the U.S. economy’s bright spots. I recently subscribed to an online headhunter’s listings for medical-equipment salesmen and quickly found an opening in Connecticut that would pay a salary of $85,000 and sales commissions of up to $95,000 more, plus a car allowance. The only requirement was that applicants have “at least one year of experience selling some form of capital equipment.”

When you follow the money, you see the choices we’ve made, knowingly or unknowingly.

Over the past few decades, we’ve enriched the labs, drug companies, medical device makers, hospital administrators and purveyors of CT scans, MRIs, canes and wheelchairs. Meanwhile, we’ve squeezed the doctors who don’t own their own clinics, don’t work as drug or device consultants or don’t otherwise game a system that is so gameable. And of course, we’ve squeezed everyone outside the system who gets stuck with the bills.


We’ve created a secure, prosperous island in an economy that is suffering under the weight of the riches those on the island extract.


And we’ve allowed those on the island and their lobbyists and allies to control the debate, diverting us from what Gerard Anderson, a health care economist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says is the obvious and only issue: “All the prices are too damn high.”

The health care market is not a market at all.

It’s a crapshoot. Everyone fares differently based on circumstances they can neither control nor predict. They may have no insurance. They may have insurance, but their employer chooses their insurance plan and it may have a payout limit or not cover a drug or treatment they need. They may or may not be old enough to be on Medicare or, given the different standards of the 50 states, be poor enough to be on Medicaid.


If they’re not protected by Medicare or protected only partially by private insurance with high co-pays, they have little visibility into pricing, let alone control of it. They have little choice of hospitals or the services they are billed for, even if they somehow knew the prices before they got billed for the services. They have no idea what their bills mean, and those who maintain the chargemasters couldn’t explain them if they wanted to.


How much of the bills they end up paying may depend on the generosity of the hospital or on whether they happen to get the help of a billing advocate. They have no choice of the drugs that they have to buy or the lab tests or CT scans that they have to get, and they would not know what to do if they did have a choice.


They are powerless buyers in a sellers’ market where the only consistent fact is the profit of the sellers.


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Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:20 | 3268382 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

About damn time someone asked that question, but Time won't be around much longer in any case.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:26 | 3268402 Texas Ginslinger
Texas Ginslinger's picture

When the cost of healthcare is discussed, why is exercise and a proper diet never mentioned..??

Instead of a bunch of pill bottles, why not show a photo of a pile of veggies and someone exercising..??

Tyler, you are part of the problem not the solution.......... 

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:28 | 3268410 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

The cause of half of all personal bankruptcies.


Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:10 | 3268714 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Face it, it just don't pay to get sick or die anymore. An apple a day to keep the doc away works best for me, and that ain't no stock either.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 02:59 | 3269425 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

It pays to have some shrink declare your rugrats in need of some magic pill to mitigate their perceived psychotic behavior (part of which results from being forced to sit in a classroom for 6 hrs a day). It pays to rake on SSI benefits for said pills, not consume said pills, and sell them on the black market.

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 09:48 | 3271295 Umh
Umh's picture

Other than their perceived psychotic behaviour being filed away in their permanent online dossier.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 19:31 | 3270478 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Apples are a fructose bomb, and fructose ingestion directly creates the worst sort of LDL, so no thanks.     Mammals evolved eating fruit(and fructose) only in season, short seasons.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:29 | 3268765 Retronomicon
Retronomicon's picture

An easy way to slip out of being middle class, if you managed to avoid the other pitfalls to poverty.  Maybe that's the point.  Get everyone poor and hooked on goverment 'help'.  

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:50 | 3268800 philipat
philipat's picture

Duplicate. Fat Finger. Apologies

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:50 | 3268812 philipat
philipat's picture

There are other issues; Tort Reform for instance. ONE of the reasons for the over-use of CAT scans is thst if they do NOT make a CAT scan, the Physician and/or Institution could be looking at a Malpractise suit. That pushes up costs both directly in terms of the number of services employed on a "Fee-for service" Model (Which Global experience has shown to inconsistent with controlling costs anywher) AND in the cost of Malpractise insurance which can, for a surgeon for instance, run to Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars per year.

And the Doctors are not entirely blamesless in this either. According to many relaiable sources NYT etc.) about 20% of the top 1% Income earners in The US are Physicians. Whne did you last meet a poor Doctor?

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:58 | 3268829 meltdown
meltdown's picture

Ah yes the issue that no one including the legacy media ever broaches.

Physician compensation.

Yes they spend a long time in school and training, but the amount of remuneration they expect nay demand is off the chart. pun intended.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 23:31 | 3269135 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Unfortunately we have a lot of doctors who care more about making money than they care about people. And those doctors that put people first, are made to suffer by forcing them to negotiate a costly bureaucracy just to do their jobs and get paid a fair wage.

It used to be that a doctor was well respected and well paid BECAUSE THEY GENUINELY CARED ABOUT HELPING PEOPLE. The community recognized that, and was happy to compensate them. Not enough to get fabulously wealthy, but certainly enough to be very well off. Those people who could afford to pay the doctor's published rates were happy to do so. Those that couldn't worked out a payment plan, or bartered with the doctor, or the doctor reduced his rates on a case by case basis for the needy in the community, because he was intimately familiar with their circumstances.

Now we have this bizarre, impersonal, irrational system that has totally disconnected the people who deliver the service from the people who use the service. THIS IS A COMPLETE AND UTTER PERVERSION OF THE VERY IDEA OF HEALTH CARE, which necessarily demands a personal connection between the care giver and the care receiver to be effective at all.

What kind of people have we become, that we can barely recognize this simple and obvious fact???

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 00:00 | 3269210 hidingfromhelis
hidingfromhelis's picture

AMA acts as a very effective choke-point on the number of new physicians allowed to enter the system as well, especially in the higher paid fields.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 00:13 | 3269241 FreeMktFisherMN
FreeMktFisherMN's picture

yep. pure rent-seeking. It's normal in a true free market to have guilds and voluntary associations that become private means to signal competence, but to get government=force to back you up is rent-seeking. All this fear about 'anti-trust' and monopolization when the only true monopolization is when government has control and keeps out competitors by conferring special status.

It's all about the 'there's a pill for that' mentality as people don't have skin in the game. They are cost insulated and it's all about being 'covered' instead of shopping around and getting legitimate pricing based on supply/demand. Government induces this insurance mentality when it is supposed to be only for catastrophes. And for those who say but what about those with preexisting conditions? Well, insurance is for unforeseen events, so by definition it's not a 'possible risk'; the condition already exists. But people underestimate strongly how charitable people are. Firms would look to keep up good PR by insuring these people anyway and people who are relatives of the person with preexisting conditions might have leverage, too, to tell the ins. company that they only will buy from them if...

As it is now 'community ratings' are mandated and people don't get rewarded for being healthy. Incentives are perverse. The diabetes and prediabetes/heart condition with even youth already will overwhelm it all. This is a disaster. Free mkts work. Look at Lasik and cosmetic surgeries. Cheaper and way more advanced/painless technology.  Markets work. 

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 09:54 | 3271298 Umh
Umh's picture

The same is true of trying to open a new hospital. First you are going to to need the other area hospitals to say that their beds are all being used. I think I remember the term "Certificate of Need".

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:13 | 3268850 impermanence
impermanence's picture

I am a doctor and I am fast becomming poor.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 22:43 | 3269050 meltdown
meltdown's picture

Relative to?

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 01:33 | 3269343 John Skookum
John Skookum's picture

Relative to a shit-ton of do-nothing government jobs, for one.  There are primary care docs in low paying specialties like pediatrics who are beating their brains out 60 hours a week for less than the deputy assistant coordinator of diversity coordination makes at your local college.  And the deputy assistant diversity coordinator doesn't run the risk of being skinned for everything she owns by the piratical plaintiff's bar. Nor does she carry a beeper and get her fat ass woken up at night.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 03:07 | 3269431 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

"The Tyranny of the Pager!" - especially when you're the Night Registrar covering Gen. Med. after hours, AND being the "on take" Consultant's Reg! Add in carrying the Resus Team pager too and that's a lot of responsibility. Unfortunately it's also a lot of "learning on your feet" and this is how medicine works - preclinical Med School only gives you the bare bones basics - you only start to "learn to be a Doctor" once you get out there and have to make the hard decisions yourself, and God help you if you disturb the Consultants beauty sleep for anything other than a VERY good (read life-or-death) reason!

Being issued with your first pager seems to be one of those "memorable events" in the training process - along the lines of buying your first Littman stethoscope (which you never give away!), and possibly your first Keeler or Welch-Allyn diagnostic set (again, something that you'll never part with!!)

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 15:01 | 3270049 impermanence
impermanence's picture

Remember, health care has been turned into a pyramid scheme by the insurance companies/Big Pharma/etc., so you get paid IF you make money for them, i.e., testing and prescribing.  If you don't wish to participate in this massive fraud, then you settle for what they pay for your time, which is very little.

There isn't much profit to be made in this system in most areas of health care if you are ethical/honest.  Individual health care practice is like any other small business that has been regulated and financialized to near death.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 06:52 | 3269545 philipat
philipat's picture

@ I am a doctor and I am fast becomming poor.

To be fair, I have quoted one of the LOWER estimates for Physicians in the top 1% of US Income earners. Other sources vary between 16-20%:

It is true that thinga are changing as the US becomes a Fascist State, dominated by The Government/Corporate Complex BUT As of NOW, Physicians comprise 16-20% of the Top 1 % of US Income earners.

You can have your own opinions but NOT your own facts. Suggestion: drop Pediatrics and take up surgery, OB/GYN or oncology. If you don't like working nights, Dermatology is also  quire profitable.

Did you walk around the Physicians carpark of a major Medical Centre recently? You might be surprised just how many Ferraris and Lambhorginis's there are around.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 15:11 | 3270061 impermanence
impermanence's picture

If you are one of the elite in medicine, or if your aim is to make a lot of money, then obviously, the opportunity exists.  I am not so very concerned about them, but instead about the middle 50% who arne't doing so very well and more, and losing ground every day.

I would think that if you are willing to make this type of committment (time and capital), that you should a least live without fear of, "making it."  Otherwise, who would take on such a task?

Obviously, this system is severely broken, but just because there are some still doing well, does not reflect on those who have not sold-out and are trying to keep their patients are the center of their practice philosophy.

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 12:43 | 3271301 Umh
Umh's picture

On the silly side; walk around the carpark of a office building when most people there are part of the cleaning crew. It's no wonder they are in debt.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 10:07 | 3269676 rbg81
rbg81's picture

I really like my doctor--he is a great guy.  But his office seems to have about 2X the staff that is warranted by the size of his practice.  They are basically tripping over each other in there.  I'm am sure he would luv to pay fewer people, but the paperwork must be such that he needs those he have.  They certainly always seem busy.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 10:25 | 3269686 Professor Fate
Professor Fate's picture

I had a few beers with a radiologist friend just last night and we were talking about what a disaster "O"care is and the hospital ripoff.  He told me his radiology group, contracted with the hospitals, receives about $3.75 per read of an MRI / x-ray whatever.  You and I (those that have insurance) will pay $250-$750 on the hospital bill for that read.  Those that have no insurance will pay nothing. And the blood-sucking parasitic lawyers take great delight in seeing it stays that way.  I'm for private medical care facilities / groups that you belong to and pay a monthly "membership" to.  You sign away your rights to sue and they do the best job possible.  No membership service.  Best of all, no parasites.  Want to buy a supplimental major medical policy for cancer, heart transplant, whatever?  Go right ahead.  Get treated at Duke.  But for more common ailments, give me a private program.  The free market sets the rates as the medical facilities compete against each other for your membership business. 

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 13:56 | 3269984 johnconnor
johnconnor's picture

¿Poor like you don't take home a quarter million dollars a year? please define what is poor for you. In other countries Doctors have a good quality of living, but they don't make nearly half of the amount that you guys take home

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 13:00 | 3269874 Hypnos
Hypnos's picture

Cost of medical degree, malpractice ins,office expenses,hours per week.most doctors are paid accordingly.almost every physician is not extremely wealthy throughout his/ her time in practice. Taking a snapshot in time not fair assessment.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:32 | 3268417 Zer0head
Zer0head's picture


$16 trillion please


They are powerless buyers in a sellers’ market where the only consistent fact is the profit of the sellers.



 What is Capitalism?


Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:02 | 3268479 Supernova Born
Supernova Born's picture

Spend some time in a California emergency room.

You can't have affordable health care for a working "minority" when the non-working majority gets it all free.

And more uninsured (obviously) illegal immigrants are coming via promised amnesty and guaranteed anchor babies every day! Every birth costs THOUSANDS, even the routine ones!

Medical insurance is going to get insanely expensive for those who buy it and medical care will only remain "first world quality" for those who can afford to pay cash.

Old and insured? Hospice is always covered 100%.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:08 | 3268521 Supernova Born
Supernova Born's picture

That AARP doesn't oppose illegal immigration demonstrates how utterly owned they are by the socialists and how deluded they have become in this baseless fiat economy.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:40 | 3268576 Texas Ginslinger
Texas Ginslinger's picture

Am curious.  How many folks here work at staying healthy, thereby denying the healthcare industry their obsene profits.

How about a quick poll..??

Up arrow me if you eat a good diet and get regular exercise.

Give me a down arrow if you eat a meat based, junk food, process food diet and are sedintary.

Thanks in advance...

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:49 | 3268647 Kidrobot
Kidrobot's picture can get sick and need medical attention without an unhealthy lifestyle.  

Everyone gets sick and old eventually.  At least today we're given pain pills to cope till we die.  Not like people in the past had much a choice and they managed. 

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 16:58 | 3270249 MisterMousePotato
MisterMousePotato's picture

Joel Fuhrman. Eat To Live.

By the way, poster above is correct about minority working and majority non working takers in California: The ratio is 139 .gov/welfare to 100 private sector. (There are actually a couple of states even worse off.)

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:56 | 3268665 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

I get your point, be active and fit. But you're fucked if you blow out your knee and need scans, surgery, drugs and rehab. Anything can happen.

All people at some point will need care no matter how well they take care of themselves.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 19:44 | 3270495 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

A longer "health span" as opposed to mere "life span" could improve things a lot, for the country and indviduals/families.

Eating too much meat is not the cause of shorter health span so much as eating wheat based blood sugar bombs and cheap vegetable oils.   We are designed to eat meat, big time, and the vilification of saturated fats is something that came from Congress, big agro, and the packaged foods industry.    

Eat lots of whole grain, whole wheat bread?   You are hammering your whole body, every last cell, with big insulin spikes.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:14 | 3268727 sschu
sschu's picture

People get sick and hurt for a variety of reasons, some of them are outside of their control.

The way it is going however, getting sick or hurt can easily lead to financial ruin.

So it is up to the individual to make every effort to minimize the chances of getting sick or injured.  Last year we went on a "get healthy" program.  Given the cost of our medical premiums (we are small business owners) we have no choice.  Smoking, eating better, exercise, lose some of those pounds, refrain from gluttony, it is not all that bad.  The downside risk to unhealthy lifestyle is pretty grim.

Roll the dice if you want.  Put your well-being in the hands of a Washington bureaucrat if you feel lucky.



Sat, 02/23/2013 - 19:46 | 3270498 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

There are already very strong, obvious incentives at the individual level....for being a healthy individual, but yeah, individual responsibility ought to be emphasized.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:37 | 3268770 Evil Bugeyes
Evil Bugeyes's picture

Eating a good diet and getting regular exercise may allow you to live longer, but I'm not sure whether it decreases your lifetime healthcare costs. In fact, it might even increase them.

Whose healthcare expenses are larger:

1. An overweight meat-eating, chain-smoking, heavy drinker who keels over from a fatal heart attack at age 60?


2. A fit and trim guy who lives to be 101 and requires managed care/assisted living for the last 10 years of his life and then suffers a fatal heart attack?

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 17:52 | 3270346 Edelweiss
Edelweiss's picture

 Interesting question.  The reality is (at the hospital I work at), people who are obese, chain-smoking, and generally unhealthy, many times are admitted repeatedly over a period of years before they die.  Frequently, they are on disability, or uninsured. It's not uncommon for them to incur huge expenses for care given.  A couple of years ago, a 19yr old local drug dealer was shot, and spent 7 months in the hospital, with multiple surgeries/procedures.  The bill would have to be in the hundreds of thousands. Be assured, he won't be paying a bit of it, taxpayers will. Is some profiteering involved? Most likely.  Some chemotherapy regimens cost as much as a new luxury car.  How could it possibly cost that much, even with a good measure of profit? People like myself, who are employed, and insured bear the brunt of costs.  Meanwhile, I frequently see individuals who do nothing to take care of themselves admitted monthly.  They understand that they will not be responsible for paying the tab.  Now, as of 2013 as a part of "O"-care, reimbursment from the govt. is partly based on perception of care rendered, not actual outcomes.  So basically you can receive top notch, safe, effective care, and negatively effect reimbursement because you didn't like some aspect of your stay.  Dumb idea.  I recently saw a situation where a patient who had a stroke failed a swallow evaluation, meaning if they eat, they may aspirate it into the lungs.  Because the family complained, the decision was made to feed the patient.  Safe or smart? No, but that's the way it works now.   From my perspective, it's likely the quality of care you can expect to get will decline via defunding, and the masses of unhealthy Americans flooding a hospital near you.  I hope I'm wrong. 

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:04 | 3268836 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

texas my wife, daughter and I are healthy and work at it. we pay $1,300/mo for health insurance. how are we denying insurance companies obscene benefits? 

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 07:53 | 3269589 philipat
philipat's picture

As a general note, why not consider Healthcare Insurance which EXCLUDES The US? I don't know about S. America, but I do know that in Asia (With the increasing exception of Singapore which is getting up to US price levels) there is VERY good healthcare available at a fraction of US costs. And also very good Insurance policies available IF you exclude The US. Thailand and Malaysia are to be recommended. It's a long way but that is why God gave us nice big Airbus-380's. And your savings will allow Business Class travel plus a nice holiday thrown in, essentially for free.


Just sayin'.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 19:50 | 3270502 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

There ought to be an offshoring of lots of health care, that's for sure.    One of the former secret banking paradises ought to get into that, bigtime.   Plenty of high end professionals might like to ply their trades in a lower tax, sane regulation, reduced bureaucracy, reduced tort environment.    That's why Texas saw such a big influx of specialists and R&D activity from the rest of the USA in the last decade or so.    That dumbass Rick Perry and the low paid, seldom working legislators in Austin get the right things done in their short sessions, which are limited to every other year.

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 20:18 | 3272582 Tompooz
Tompooz's picture

The Philippines is also an excellent destination for medical and dental tourism. Good english spoken and the bills are about a tenth of the cost in the US. Insurance excluding the US is an excellent suggestion, but you can also insure yourself and just pay cash overseas. 

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 22:41 | 3269042 SilverTech
SilverTech's picture

Am curious. Where do you derive your ideas of what a healthy diet is?

Fact is, the nutritional guidelines that the FDA promulgates are practically guaranteed to make you sick.

Wheat is the biggest offender because it's franken-wheat, chock full of new, toxic forms of gluten (see "Wheat Belly"). Most corn is GMO=slow poison.  Most soy is GMO and, even if not, unfermented soy is NOT good for you. No soy is good for males because soy contains plant estrogens (unless you like man tits). Many vegetable oils, like canola (rapeseed) and corn oil are at least somewhat toxic. The list goes on...

Of course, you're right, processed foods and fast foods are the absolute worst. They're fast poison.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:45 | 3268630 rayduh4life
rayduh4life's picture

Urrgghhhh!  wrong,  ding, "what is fascism"  Correct.  May I have Healthcare for 17Billion please Alex:   

The asshats that first authored  "O'bamacare"?  Answer Who are fascist wing nuts called Heritage foundation.  Correct.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 23:34 | 3269158 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Well, actually, it's probably more communist than fascist, but we can both agree that it's Socialism.

FYI, the Heritage Foundation is controlled opposition.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 17:02 | 3270253 mkhs
mkhs's picture

Well, let's see.  Pay (according to means) and receive (according to needs).   Nope.   Communism.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:36 | 3268426 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

"When the cost of healthcare is discussed, why is exercise and a proper diet never mentioned..??"

What established crony entity would benefit from preventative care and a generally healthy population?

Consider, what chronic disease patient is going to leave their incredibly shitty job and risk the loss of insurance?

Consider, what unemployed chronic disease patient is going to obtain a job and risk losing their insurance?

Diabetes is a control mechanism.  


Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:15 | 3268536 Texas Ginslinger
Texas Ginslinger's picture

Thanks for describing the root cause of the problem.

The healthcare industry makes $$ off the unhealthy.

The fit spend their $$ on good food and exercise gear.

Regular exercise and a proper diet (in the long run) denies the healtcare industry more profit.

Yet nobody talks about it.

Not even Tyler.

Go figure....


Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:38 | 3268600 Henry Hub
Henry Hub's picture

When you're in you twenties and thirties proper diet and exercise are great. You probably won't have any serious illness. Enjoy your healthy life because when you hit your fifties and sixties diet and exercise help but your going to start to have serious medical problems. Count on it.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:44 | 3268622 Texas Ginslinger
Texas Ginslinger's picture


I'm almost 60 years old, eat a plant based diet, get regular vigorous exercise and in near pefect health.

You are clueless and part of the problem.

Open your mind.......

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:00 | 3268683 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Most seniors like you are not so fortunate.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 23:40 | 3269166 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Mr. Ginslinger, Jim Fixx would like a word with you.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 10:44 | 3269699 Straw Dog
Straw Dog's picture

Jim Fixx got plenty of exercise (running) but did not eat a healthy diet. Google Gary Null's comments on Jim Fixx

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:27 | 3268762 Henry Hub
Henry Hub's picture

Hey Ginslinger,

At the age of 64 I hadn't seen a doctor since I was a kid. Exercise and diet paid off. I had some chest pains, went for tests and ended up with triple coronary bypass operation. It's only a matter of time for you my friend, only a matter of time.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:07 | 3268845 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Texas do u have a family and if so, have a family health plan? 

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:38 | 3268907 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Let me see if I got this order to save you money everyone should adopt your lifestyle choices or it's problematic for you?

At the age of 53, I'm getting a little "sick & tired" of fucking busy bodies telling me what I should or should not be doing with my body.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:47 | 3268927 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

he misses the point on several levels.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:54 | 3268941 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Very much so.

I think everyone knows proper diet and exercise is healthy. What "they" always fail on is choice. I have always rejected the premise that in order for one to have "cost savings" another must have liberty loss.

If he wants to eat grass, I don't care, let him. I like meat, wild turkey and gator tail are delicacies ;-)

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 22:05 | 3268958 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

it's funny that theme plays into so many different conversations on here. What happened to Crockett by the way? if he found a hobby i wish he would share it.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 22:14 | 3268969 nmewn
nmewn's picture

The theme should, freedom goes hand in hand with repsonsibility.

I dunno about Crockett, I was wondering that too, maybe got bored or busy...and akak (but I see he showed up today). I don't blame people from taking a break from the insanity pointed out everyday.

Just glad when I see em again, even if I don't offer salutations or have anything to add.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 23:19 | 3269121 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I was worried about akak too...figured Trav chased him away. I'm in new Zealand and haven't fully taken a break. Mr miffed rolls his eyes when I ask for wireless passwords. I think he'd sign me up for ZH anonymous if he could find it.


Sat, 02/23/2013 - 17:19 | 3270286 mkhs
mkhs's picture

You're in NZ? I was sure you were South Cal.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 22:25 | 3270770 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

On holiday ;-). Will be hard to return to the rat race


Sat, 02/23/2013 - 22:28 | 3270783 akak
akak's picture

Thanks for noticing my absence, MM and nmewn, but all was and is well.  I was merely on extended travels with no access to the internet (yes, it can happen, and not entirely involuntarily either, no offense to anyone here or ZH itself).  It was a hectic but very good break.

OK, now where's that AnAnonymous?  I need to rip him a new one!

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 22:59 | 3270851 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Good to hear you're well and still fiesty! We're having lunch at a tiny cafe in the middle of nowhere in NZ. I picked it because it had wifi. Then I see your post. How global the world is now. We'll be on a sheep ranch for 3 days so this is probably my last ZH fix for a while. Now Mr Miffed is glaring at me so I must sign off.

A bientot!


Sat, 02/23/2013 - 23:04 | 3270859 akak
akak's picture

Good to see you here as well MM --- you are one of my favorite posters here.

(I hope that that did not come across as flirtacious!)

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 03:05 | 3271095 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Well, you honor me with your comment. I do admit I feel intimitated posting with the savvy big time posters here but what's the point of living if one is never challenged? I'm always amazed at the quality of the articles and the following commentary, it seems incredible how many interesting people from so many walks of life have congregated here. Yes there are the dipshits, but dipshits are everywhere and are easily ignored as long as you don't engage. Speaking of that ...please don't step into a pile of Trav. It's REALLY painful to read. Of course that is totally your affair and I respect your decision to engage but speaking as a bystander it's horrific. Perhaps because I have been a "Trav" in my life(took several years of work with a cognitive therapist to unTrav myself) and when I see him ripping you it brings up a lot a bad memories and guilt on my part. You are a good person and don't deserve it. Just my 2 cents. My flirtation back at you ;-)

Oh yeah the sheep ranch has wifi much to the chagrin of my dear husband! I promised I would limit my time. I mean there are certainly worse things to be addicted to don't you think?


Sun, 02/24/2013 - 20:27 | 3272600 Tompooz
Tompooz's picture

"now where's that AnAnonymous?  I need to rip him a new one!"


Nooo, not on the roadside please.   

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 02:23 | 3269393 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

You far. There are numerous things that can still happen to you and put you back in the curve. You are doing everything right, it sounds but it is a probability game. You have changed the odds of certain outcomes but you may still have something happen. I wish you well but another person cannot predict their results from yours alone.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 03:21 | 3269439 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

- near perfect health  -

So, not exactly perfect then. Consider yourself lucky so far, and consider also the very high possibility of "systems failures" in your near future - once 60 arrives, we see a really big increase in problems associated with our decision as a species to walk upright, and these problems will certainly curtail your ability to indulge in any excercise - vigorous or otherwise!

These problems do not care whether you have a "healthy" diet or not, but they are exacerbated (in duration and severity) by wear and tear - which is just what "vigorous exercise" does.

So, be careful. (Certainly avoid any activities that may result in bony injuries - your ability to repair your skeleton is far less effective now than it was in your 20's, and with the rise in multidrug resistant microbes, operative repair is becoming quite a risky proposition!)

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 05:51 | 3269516 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

This is why I do yoga. Though I do go out with mr miffed for our 5k jog because cardio is important, I feel yoga is fabulous for balance and core strength. Things that are critical in the 60+ years. I'm hoping to avoid the walker as long as possible. Genetics can be helpful too but I honestly don't think it dooms one if parents don't live long. It just requires one to be more proactive about ones health. There is so much against Americans at this time. High stress, poor nutrition, over reliance on Pharma and no exercise. Recipe for disaster.

Miffed ;-)

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:39 | 3268436 harami
harami's picture

Because when you tell someone to stop smoking, drinking alochol, or otherwise stop eating shitty food they get butt hurt and say shit like "It's my body" or somehow convince themselves even though they're well past the 250 lbs mark, or more, that somehow they're still not fat and if they don't admit it in public or outloud they're thin.  You get comments like "Genetics" or "My body type" but 90% of the time it's the answer is you're not taking personal accountability for having two asses.

Can't recommend eating less meat, can't recommend eating more vegetables, can't recommend exercising vigorously to lose weight (walking for 30 minutes a day is a load crap if you think that'll keep you healthy), can't recommend stop drinking wine because it's a "social lubricant" or has antidioxidants (newsflash, so do fruits and veggies that would cost you less) because those all involve life style changes or otherwise giving up some kind of vice that people would rather not.

Now having legitimate health issues like an inactive thyroid or suffering from a severe lack in vitamins can sometimes be beyond your control, but again, usually a shift in your diet or simply taking a supplment that will cost you $10 a month, if that, can alleviate those issues with time and hard work.

Nope, all our health issues can't be our own fault or using the fucking internet to search for our own solutions and educating ourselves, it has to be the system!

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:03 | 3268509 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

It's kind of a vicious cycle.

1.  Our habitat design is stressful to hairless monkies.

2.  Hairless monkies respond to stress with short-term vice "remedies", quick rush.

3.  Said vices make habitat stress even worse, increasing the "need" for 2.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:56 | 3268945 combatsnoopy
combatsnoopy's picture

You're getting close. 

Big Pharma has infiltrated the mediums with a bunch of bad information to protect the sales of metformin, Lipitor, Livalo, Byetta, fat loss aids and the like.Remember, because they cut costs and make bigger profits from boomers, they have a very loaded hand.

I have an endocrine issue which is caused by TOO MUCH INSULIN.  I take care of myself, with chocolate and my glucose levels are in good range because... well, I exercise.

The PA from Stanford pushed metformin on me.   The other krap she pushed on me made me sick. But watch out for the sick cult of Metformin worship.  Metformin raises the AMPK which does trigger insulin release. 

In time, after two years of trial and error and research on Google (Thank God for Google!) I figured out a few things that would aid me in recovery and maintain my health.  Sorry I don't have the time to follow up with the novel on what I learned.  BUt it's nothing that's posted in Health RX magazine. 

Even WebMD won't utter the words "high fructose corn syrup" and that junk kills your liver and your metabolism.

Read the actual academic research papers and articles you can find on Google. 
The boomers don't do this.  WE have to be smarter than the refs.  And we are. 

BTW, I majored in FINANCE.  Not Premed, not biochem, I never passed organic chem.  And I still understood this stuff.  The goods are out there, it's up to people to take the initiative to get the information for themselves.


Sat, 02/23/2013 - 02:48 | 3269413 indygo55
indygo55's picture

Please tell me what you found out? Really, I would love to know just the basic things you do?



Sat, 02/23/2013 - 05:56 | 3269517 ThankYouSirMayI...
ThankYouSirMayIHaveAnother's picture

Yes weight loss/ exercise can help treat elevated insulin levels if you are overweight don't think chocolate is the answer

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:14 | 3268477 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Tyler is only a problem for TBTB

Nutrition is the best preventative medicine. Why wouldn't it be. You are indeed what you eat. Food can also cure things. I post this all the time, but still try to catch  the documentaries "Food Matters" and take a look at "The China Study" the largest human nutrition / health study to date. Physically, mankind is nothing more than an evolved animal. We've been around for more than a hundred years. Maybe we should look at what we ate and what we should eat. Not what the current global corps are shoving down our kids throats along with the propoganda that comes with.  

Nutrition and its "heathy delivery" is no different than a healthy economy - diversity, redundancy, resiliency, a free market of plant, animal and insect competition, and natural failure - all constantly and literally feeding the very foundation of the system. Economies survive the exact same way as environments. And why shouldn't they? Economies are supposed to be based on the real world not a spreadsheet. And that "health" is vital down to the microbial level. It's utterly simple in its complexity and truth. No wonder we can't see it. No wonder they don;t want us to

Like everything else "modern" man has done - his current economic safety, his food quality and delivery, his medicine safety, his energy safety, hell his toxic safety - it's all been sacrificed for the short term profit of a select group of large and larger criminals

It's amazing...and stupid...and deadly. 

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:24 | 3268748 BigDuke6
BigDuke6's picture

I post a similar message on health threads here and often get slammed but ill keep educating you.

In the USA Florida 1 in 2 people die in intensive care... Or expensive care as its nickname
In other countries that's more like 1 in 10
It's not the only factor but the first step in getting costs down is to say
I don't want it all done I go with dignity

Sadly the family in their acute upset at seeing 90 yr old grandpaw in ICU is to say 'do everything you can doc'

Am I getting through?

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:12 | 3268852 Encroaching Darkness
Encroaching Darkness's picture

My dad had insurance, but didn't want to go into the hospital. My mom called the ambulance when he had the first heart attack - he got over it, had another several years.

The second heart attack sent him back, but they didn't operate that time - doctors didn't think he'd survive the operation, I think. He went home, got better, had another couple of years.

I was called on the phone when he was in for the last time; he was kind of fuzzy just before, that's why they took him in. Once he got in the hospital and woke up, he was appalled; he realized he'd been slipping in and out of awareness, didn't want to die in hospital, didn't want to run up a bunch of charges or wind up in a bed forever, no quality of life.

I remember the nurse asking,"If you don't cooperate, do you realize what will happen? "

His response, I heard it on the phone: "I'm 85 years old, and I know exactly what will happen!" He was not afraid of death, but of living as a helpless patient.

When asked, my input was "If you can, heal him. But do not torture him." My sister knew exactly what I meant.

They insisted he perform a test to prove he was well enough to release. They got him up and made him walk across the room. He collapsed and fell, they put him back in bed and he was dead before they could resuscitate him. Sister and I knew he had escaped the health care (CHS' "sick care") system.

Whatever costs were covered by the insurance, mom didn't lose everything. Had he died at home like he wanted, all those costs could have been saved.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:23 | 3268878 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

great post , you too Duke

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:29 | 3268894 BigDuke6
BigDuke6's picture

We all want a good death and your paw sounds like he had a good plan for it
Sadly it seems like you need to have a strong will to push that plan through with your family all behind it.... Judging by your moving story.

In Australia our insurance companies are kept in check by the government and doctors themselves ..
If an insurance company is shit I tell my patients
It's sad you guys have lost confidence in your doctors - they need to start leading and telling the insurance companies to get fucked by the sounds...

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 23:29 | 3269143 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I hear you. I regularly see full codes ordered on 95 year old people who, obviously, didn't have an advanced directive and whose family couldnt let go. People don't understand what a full code does to an elderly person. The chest compression alone will crack their sternum to bits. If I were in charge I would require the family members to watch the process. Things might change. If you want to make an informed decision about your personal healthcare, volunteer at a hospital for a month. I have seen some scary stuff working in a hospital for 30 years and will tattoo DNR on my chest it is means avoiding heroic measures when inappropriate for me.


Sat, 02/23/2013 - 04:09 | 3269458 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

Miffed - you never forget you first resus - it's when you find that the Laerdal Resusci-Anne mannequin isn't quite as authentic as you thought!

Resusci-Anne doesn't make groaning sounds, or bubbles up "interestingly chunky frothy stuff" during the exhalation phase, or has "interesting crunches" corresponding with broken ribs, lacerating God knows what on the inside!

And as you know, unlike the "fake reality" of the Silver Screen, the "real" reality is that if your pateint NEEDS CPR their immediate survival rate is pretty poor (can be < 10%), whilst their long term survival rate is much worse, UNLESS the arrest was caused by something easily fixable (typically electrolyte disturbance, drug idiosyncracy, or accidental over dosage).

On an equally cheerful note - looks like "our Old Friend" and the World's No 1 killer Malaria is far from beaten - as could have been esaily predicted from past experience with monotherapies for other diseases Worldwide

If or when "it all collapses" the Gold, Guns 'n ' Ammo Brigade are going to find that all the "invisible services" they bitch about funding via theur taxes are not so irrelevant after all. Without safe water, and safe wastewater management, it's no exaggeration to suggecst that population levels will fall, and the biological hazard posed by millions of dead is guaranteed to place metropolitan areas "off limits" for the survivors for many decades.

Add in the risks associated with other infrastructure failure (nuclear power - I'm looking at you!) and times will be a LOT more interesting than many on ZH realise, and it'll definitely NOT be a case of "controlled collapse".

This is why we have chosen a "floating residence", and a very blue-water capable one at that.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 05:28 | 3269507 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Parrotile, of course I will never forget my first. He was a man who completed a marathon and decided to ride his bike home. Unfortunately he was too tired and veered into on coming traffic. They worked for 45 min on him. I can see their point, here was a healthy young male and they really wanted to save him. After a while I asked what was the grey matter dripping on the floor out of his ears and they told me that was his brains. I managed to keep going but I went home and cried. All Mr Miffed could do is rock me in his arms until I stopped. I could never tell him what happened. I realized I was too sensitive to continue in trauma and moved into micro and molecular. My mother always claimed I was cold hearted and unfeeling to bury myself in the lab. She never understood it was quite the opposite. People should volunteer in a hospital and see reality. Many cultures incorporate the dying process with the family. In the USA we hide it behind close doors and shelter the family. I remember I was called to monitor a organ harvest. They asked me do do a bleeding time on the pt before I gown up before surgery. When I went in the room the pt was in full blown agonal breathing. When I started the bleeding time they told me they were bringing in the family for their last good byes. They did something that stopped the agonal breathing, the family came in and cried ( I had to hold my face away so they wouldn't see me crying as well). Then when they left, the agonal breathing resumed. I asked why did they do that and they said it was very damaging for someone to see their loved one breath like that at the end of their life ( I saw their point) and even though it was better for the organs not to do it, it was a price to be paid for them to see a calm ending. Frankly end of life as you and I know is rarely pretty.

Thanks for the link. I was under the understanding they were on the cusp of getting an effective malaria vaccination. Perhaps a bit premature. The very nature of cryptozoites made that a remote possibility in my mind. We had a few out breaks of malaria in San Diego in a lagoon in Carlsbad. If it gets a foothold in this country there would be hell to pay. People don't have a clue that yellow fever,TB and other serious arthropod infections were common in this country at the turn of the century. Only through diligent Public Heath initiatives were they erraticated. The future doesn't bode well

On a happier note, mr miffed and I had a wonderful time in Australia and are in New Zealand for the rest of the week. Thank you for all the recommendations! Sydney was truly expensive as you warned! ;-)


Sat, 02/23/2013 - 03:00 | 3269427 indygo55
indygo55's picture

we are supposed to work, work, work and pay, pay pay, and then when we get to a certain age, before we can benefit from all this input we die. Its all part of the plan. I know a guy in his mid fourties, big belly, has diabetes, he drinks regular coke all day long. I ask why does he do that and he says he needs the caffiene to keep working. I ask what does his doctor recommend and he says "insulin". Its a multi billion dollar business. We (they cuz I'm not part of this) are part of a big machine that creates wealth for the industry. Take control of your lives and your body. Only whole foods and minimum sugars and zero processed foods. Excersise like a cave man. Like you own it. Live outside these bastards and live a vigorous healty life and be positive and aware. I do and I am old. I feel great and I'm going for 130. In my mind. Peace. 



Sat, 02/23/2013 - 10:53 | 3269711 Straw Dog
Straw Dog's picture

I second the plug for The China Study. Compares diet and health across populations an geographies. The bottom line, heart disease, strokes, diabetes and many cancers are eradicated if you follow a plant based diet. Written by a mainstream scientist and references hundreds of peer reviewed studies. Worth everyones time to read this book.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:46 | 3268925 combatsnoopy
combatsnoopy's picture

I don't know why you got a bunch of thumbs down, you're on it.
I keep bringing up Japan and there's a reason why they have the lowest cost of healthcare around.  On that note, they are lucky in that they have immediate access to affordable REAL foods and recipes that makes low saturated fat diets tasty.
They have access to FRESH sea food.  REAL food is excellent when it's FRESH.

They care A LOT about their health, they see the doctor all the time.  But because they're healthy, their healthcare system is not considered to be a money maker so well, they don't have money to lobby against the market.  This is how free market discipline (yes DISCIPLINE is a very good word here)- DISCIPLINE took over the Japanese socialized health care system. 

Yes their minister and doctors negotiate prices for their citizens.  But they took responsibility for their own health.

In the U.S., now with QE stupid Bernanke, stupid speculators are pushing up the price of commodities and fresh grub isn't as accessible anymore.  We're impounded with palm oil and high fructose corn syrup in literally EVERYTHING we eat. 

We have a rather LARGE BABY boomer population struggling with diabetes II, heart disease.  This is the group that has been tossing atoms and molecules at their problems since they first found beer at the store or attended the Summer of Love (or wish they had).  These guys are giving Big pharma control of the market with their own behavior. 

The rest of us are not innocent either.  Chocolate loves me. 

But anyways, the U.S. relies on a heavily lobbied legislative and court system to keep healthcare legit and apparently it's not working.   Just ask the sick cult of Metformin worship.


Sat, 02/23/2013 - 07:00 | 3269551 Incubus
Incubus's picture

Because exercising is "hard."


I promise you lazy fucks, exercising gets easier the more you do it.  Put down the twinkie and lift a little weight and go for a run.


As with everything in life; the current you is the result of a progression of things.  The fat hanging off your tits didn't get there over night.  Get your diet in order and be active and you'll see it feels better than any High Fructose Corn Shit fermenting in your gut.


I see this tubby big bitch at work who chows down on his medications, and I think to myself, "Wow.  If this motherfucker ran a little, he wouldn't have to take that stuff--but I guess popping pills is the easier route?"


I see fatasses complaining about their problems, and I can't help but think about how ignorance is no excuse.  They do it to themselves.



Sat, 02/23/2013 - 12:01 | 3269791 strangewalk
strangewalk's picture

Texas G has the best posts on this forum. Most health problems that people in advanced countries experience are 'man-made'. Eating a processed food diet along with insufficient exercise are two of the main culprits, and many or even most people would be much better off if they avoided the use of prescription drugs. 

But still, why is it that in the US open heart surgery can easily cost way upward of $150,000, an appendectomy $50,000, a broken leg $40,000, to mention a few, yet at JCI approved, state of art hospitals with world class physicians in India, China or Thailand the corresponding costs would come to only $10,000, $2,000 and $1,000...?? 

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 19:57 | 3270510 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Humans don't need a lot of exercise to maintain good health and enjoy a long health span.    Forget the gym.   It is 90% about diet.

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 05:11 | 3271150 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

Sick care is likely going away in the collapse.  If it doesn't, you will be lucky.

Get well or roll the dice.

People don't have to like it, but what is liked isn't necessarily real.

Now is the time to deal in reality.

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 11:41 | 3271418 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

Good point .


And, herbs are great sources of low cost medicine.

skullcap, hyssop, echinacea, garlic, catnip, elecampane, st. john's wort.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:44 | 3268566 toady
toady's picture

About time someone asked that question? Are you kidding? The internet has been SCREAMING that question ever since it became apparent that the ACA was written by the insurance companies for the insurance companies and no one but the insurance companies.

Now, if your talking about the MSM or politcos asking that question, it'll never happen.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 22:19 | 3268963 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

I went to my ortho doctor with wrist pain and without even touching me he told me I 'needed' an MRI ($1,800.00). I told him I'm a Cheap Bastard and wont pay for it unless he examines me he threw me out of his office.

I went to my family doctor with a headache, and without touching me or even looking in my eyes or taking my blood pressure he told me I 'needed' a CAT Scan of my brain ($2,100.000). When I told him I'm a Cheap Bastard and he needs to examine me first or I wont pay for he threw me out of his office.

I went to my internist with belly pain and he told me I 'needed' a 'comprehensive chest and abdomen scan' ($3,400.00). When I told him I'm a Cheap Bastard and wanted an exam before this expensive test or I wont pay ....he threw me out of his office too.

I went to my psychologist and told her I'm getting depreseed b/c of this new style of medical care. Before I could even finish my symptoms and withot any Freudian analysis (or anything) on her part, she had written five prescriptions, handed them to me saying on her way out the door, "Take these and come back in three months."


I went to the Chinese woman for a massage and told her about my problems. She told me eat 1 papaya a day instead of all that other formal medical stuff. i did and within three weeks 100% better ! All it costs me were the papayas and what I paid for her maaagse. For Christmas, I paid for and gave all my friends a gift certificate to her for a massage as a thank you to her. You may call me a Cheap Bastard, but I 'm a grateful person also. BTW, I'm still eating a bowl of papayas a day and feel great!

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 23:46 | 3269180 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

In Oct 2007 in went home at 2pm feeling very I'll. At 5 pm I was in agony, my left side felt like a knife was turning in it. I frantically called mr miffed to come and take me to the hospital. When he got home and saw me writhing on the bed he pulled out his iPad and in 5min said " I know what's wrong! You've either got appendicitis or have a cyst on your ovary. But I don't think it's the cyst because your pain came on suddenly." mr miffed is a computer programmer. After 6 hrs in the ER and multiple tests including ultrasounds, CAT scans and lab work, th ER doc finally proclaimed I had appendicitis. Mr miffed turned to me with the " WTF is wrong with your field" look. I said I was sorry but your field is not fucked up by government regulation as mine.

Then when he got the bill for 40,000 he had another WTF moment. Considering they removed it laparoscopically and I left a few hours later AMA when they said I would have a minimum stay of 3 days, he figured it would be cheap. I don't have the heart to tell him what that would have cost.


Sat, 02/23/2013 - 00:54 | 3269303 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

I thought the appendix was on the right side.

Mine ruptured, but I was fortunate, it was an encapsulated appendix and was contained in a sac. They drained the sac and treated me with antibiotics.

Still have my appendix, sitting happily in its condom.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 04:40 | 3269478 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

LEFT side?? McBurney's point is on the RIGHT side.

Left side suggests PID or ovarian pathology (in the Ladies). It can also be an indicator of acute diverticulitis (inflamed / infected / infarcted diverticulum) or acute colitis.

If it WAS left sided pain (with no initial migration from the umbilicus) that indicates why they took so long - however acute appendicitis does not always "follow the rules" - - and note also that this problem still kills (OK, mainly in the elderly population, but mortality is mortality).

Hopefully you had yours "whipped out" in the "good old days" before the current "troubles" - - you really wanted to know that, didn't you!!


Sat, 02/23/2013 - 05:36 | 3269512 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Yes I know it was strange. My surgeon has a term for it and I can't remember what it was. Something like "echo " pain. Also when he opened me up he said my appendix looked completely normal but there was a mass of pus around it as if my body was attacking it abnormally. They removed it laparoscopically and I was fine.they were extremely afraid I would get peritonitis because of the amount of pus even though it hadn't ruptured. I was lucky

Miffed ;-)

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 05:38 | 3269513 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Dup.. Sorry

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:35 | 3268405 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

Feds don't allow hardware stores to overcharge on plywood when hurricanes hit then why do they allow hospitals to overcharge? Hospitals should be charged with predatory pricing.

In a hospital you have no say on what you are charged and in most case what you are given. One solution is to require pricing to be disclosed. Same with drugs and testing.

My wife had to have a CT scan with contrast. Doctor said go here, $4,200, I said bullshit. I found a clinic on the other side of town that did the same test for $1,200. That's 3k bullshit!

Drugs are cheaper in Canada and more available in Mexico. Why are Americans not allowed to do like Mexico? Money plain and simple... it is a racket that we can't afford anymore.


Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:40 | 3268441 duo
duo's picture

When a week in the hospital ICU costs more than the average worker makes in a career, that means that every person has a negative value to society because they are at risk of running up seven-figure medical bills.

Let's face it, the US is an HMO that happens to have an army and a Navy.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:25 | 3268712 emersonreturn
emersonreturn's picture

a friend's father was told he had weeks to live...i found this unbelievable, usually they give the stats and the individual generally hears the high number and takes that as the time frame, but then i realized he has private insurance and they know that generally people believe doctors and take what they have to say as gospel, and by telling him weeks it saves the organization thousands, sheeple being so easily programed....then his doctor told him in Washington State he has the right to chose to leave the planet (which i am completely in favour of and feel it is a highly enlightened stance) and that he, the doctor, will supply the father with the handful of pills when the time comes; the father is to administer them himself, thereby freeing the doctor and organization of direct responsibility.  great.  the father is completely satisfied, as is the medical provider---it saves them all a tremendous amount.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:52 | 3268478 Vashta Nerada
Vashta Nerada's picture

I believe the Feds are the ones who won't let hospitals disclose pricing to the user.  They also mandate that hospitals treat people regardless of ability to pay.  They also mandate that hospitals treat illegals without charging them.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:06 | 3268702 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

It is a racket. Then you add insurance companies in there and it really fucks things up. Many drs have a vested interest in those testing labs. They profit from the tests.

It's a lie that USA medical care is the best in the world.

The game is, they overcharge and the insurance gets a "deal" pays a fraction of the cost. Those with poor insurance or none get stuck with the full msrp.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 00:16 | 3269246 hidingfromhelis
hidingfromhelis's picture

It's both predatory and monopolistic pricing, and there's no obligation on their part or ability on your part to get price quotes in advance.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:35 | 3268777 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

How many hardware stores have highly paid lobbyists in DC bribing politicians?

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:29 | 3268413 rhinoblitzing
rhinoblitzing's picture

Exactly - A blank check to the INSURANCE INDUSTRY with no way to for consumers to compare prices, services, or past performance.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:49 | 3268467 Vashta Nerada
Vashta Nerada's picture

Healthcare costs so much because the person using the service isn't the one paying for it.  Look at cosmetic surgery, where insurance does not cover the service - prices have been going down for years.  I guarantee you that if people had to pay for their care on delivery, a competitive market would emerge.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:55 | 3268487 harami
harami's picture

You never know, some time in the future cosmetic surgery might be deemed necessary since ugly mother fuckers have an affair advantage in life when it comes to getting a job or having high self esteem.

Stranger things have happened.

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 10:52 | 3271348 Umh
Umh's picture

Affair advantage! Good looks and few ethics.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:59 | 3268499 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

That is indeed a big part, but the way things are going, the criminal collusion and the federal scale, is tiping the control over to organized crime. The anti-hippocratic oath

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:57 | 3268672 rayduh4life
rayduh4life's picture

Ok, except why doesn't that apply to dentistry?  A lot of folks, even those with Health insurance, don't have dental insurance and those prices keep going up.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:39 | 3268789 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

My dentist made around $800/hr for some work he did (~3 hrs).  Something seriously wrong with that, I had no idea till I got my portion of the bill that my insurance didn't cover.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:47 | 3268806 Vashta Nerada
Vashta Nerada's picture

If I am not mistaken, the costs for dental care are going up at about two thirds the rate of medical care. Essentially, the cost increase is proportional to the percentage of care that is paid for by a third party.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:30 | 3268416 Croesus
Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:42 | 3268446 Motorhead
Motorhead's picture

German TV the other night had a show about the hanky panky Eli Lilly pulled with prozac and how the Germans turned it down twice before eventually approving the drug.  Disgusting.  Monetary penalty, my ass.  Hang those execs (and any complicit scum at the FDA).

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:02 | 3268508 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

My favorite latest from criminal law land is OXY. It has exploded into the scene and is screwing up a lot of lives. The drug maker was caught red handed hiding the evidence that this stuff could do a lot of harm. The corporation paid a fine and a few minor execs got a deferred misdemeanor. Meanwhile the addicted teenager does prison.

Aint that America, somethin to see...

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:32 | 3268419 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

I work in this field, and my friends, it is a really fucking depressing field to work in.  Our sector is 1/6th of the entire US economy, and it is a fucking cancer on our society.  It bankrupts people, it causes, maintains, or worsens illness, and it is a fucking cancer on our society.  

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:42 | 3268449 dick cheneys ghost
dick cheneys ghost's picture

Our society has many cancers.......

cancer on health care

cancer on the president

cancer on the dollar

and the cancer on wall st (ass cancer)



Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:05 | 3268516 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

cancer on cancer treatment

a lot of that shit does not work. We have thown billions (trillion?) into the last twenty five years and not really improved the success rate. We've made some people rich though

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:48 | 3268462 Meatballs
Meatballs's picture

I left. Not going back and couldn't be happier. Managed Care? Yeah, it's managed all right.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:51 | 3268474 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Looks like I managed to repeat myself, but, really, it probably can't be repeated enough.  When you think about the FIRE economy, a lot of minds go right to finance and real estate, and forget about the insurance part.  Providers are very much complicit in this, but in the end, the respond to money flows, and the money comes from insurance (both public and private).  I think this is where the article is actually a bit weak; it seems to focus a lot on the providers (both service and gear) and the utter fuckitude of mispricing, but again, they have and always will respond to the money flows.  We have hospitals that are nicer than fucking 5 star hotels.  We have insurance company towers that are larger than some bank towers.  That is a totally fucked situation.  Like I said, fucking... cancer.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 11:54 | 3269777 Alpha Monkey
Alpha Monkey's picture

Insurance is finance.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:32 | 3268420 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

The mantra of American business is "fraud," whether it be Wall Street, Healthcare, or the Military Industrial Complex.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:36 | 3268427 Motorhead
Motorhead's picture

Healthcare, AKA the "pharmaceutical-industrial complex".

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 21:38 | 3268905 combatsnoopy
combatsnoopy's picture

Medicare and Medicaid are both welfare for Big Pharma.  With an aging baby boomer market and drugs made for cheap in India, Big Pharma has LOADS of money to lobby Congress with.  THey may be as dangerous, if not more dangerous than Wall Street.   That contest will def. be a game of wits 

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 01:28 | 3269336 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

isn't it interesting that with an aging society and rising health care costs, you would think the first thing we would do is use the world market for drugs where we could find prices one tenth to one one hundredth of what we pay. And the first thing this administration did was cut a deal with pharma that that would never happen. It followed up with the promise that the boss middleman, insurance, whose last interest is health would always get their cut, their now mandatory cut.  It's not medicine, it's just crime. crime and corruption. Anyone with an ounce of medical and ethical intelligence has called this plan out for what it is.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 18:39 | 3270404 mkhs
mkhs's picture

The silence is deafening.


Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:34 | 3268424 trillion_dollar...
trillion_dollar_deficit's picture

I work in healthcare finance. From what Ive read of it so far, the article is pretty accurate in its portrayal of the industry. My opinion is that the system has become so complex that nobody truly understands it. I see examples of that almost daily.

As bad as the article protrays the not for profit organizations, the for profits are significantly worse. I estimate their charges (ie the chargemaster) are anywhere from 2 to 3 times more than the not for profits. This is important even for the insured because of the patient owed portion of the bill thats due. My suggestion is to find out which facilities in your area are HMA or HCA owned and avoid them at all cost.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:40 | 3268438 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

The best values are often found in ex-urb county clinics.  They typically have reasonably good staff and can tackle just about anything that doesn't require an ER visit.  

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:41 | 3268445 john39
john39's picture

someone certainly understands it...  just follow the money.  wealth is being stripped out of the middle class, especially the elderly, through the sick care industry and related insurance companies.  pure fascism, and now there is no way out.   Take good care of yourself, great, now open your wallet for the rest of the fat lazy americans who didn't...  because your corporate overlords want every last penny of wealth they can get.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:44 | 3268450 berlinjames02
berlinjames02's picture

What?? The healthcare and insurance industry is too complex for anyone to really understand what is going on?? I'm shocked to hear that.

Dude, you should really spend more time on Facebook. Just about everyone I know on FB 1) understands healthcare perfectly and 2) can articulate how great Obamacare is in Twitter-like character limits.

I don't know how anyone can 'think' they understand anything. There is so much (un)intentional (mis/dis)information out there that no one knows what is going on. Healthcare, Social Security, the national debt or deficit.

I love how people believe you take a complex system and make it work by increasing complexity.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:50 | 3268817 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

The simplest of things are often hidden by complexity ... things like greed and corruption. 

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:35 | 3268425 uncle reggie
uncle reggie's picture

The rising cost of healthcare. First heard that story 25 years ago. Couldn't fix it then, can't fix it now. Too many making too much prevents a fix. That is the American way, afterall.

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 11:11 | 3271372 Umh
Umh's picture

And they keep trying to sell more problems while calling them solutions. I cringed at the side effects of the HMO model which they said would reduce costs. It may have reduced costs, but has only increased prices.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:37 | 3268431 Shell Game
Shell Game's picture

Guess I'm Old School. I avoid the doctor's office like the Plague.  I DO NOT go unless I really have to fucking go.  What is wrong with our milk-toast society?  I have an ache......pill me.   I feel glum......Pill Me.  I have a restless leg at night......PILL ME!   I have a hard time falling asleep, not sneezing, digesting my milk, paying attention, waking up, settling down......  Is there's a pill for that!?!

It's all a fucking mess.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:38 | 3268432 Motorhead
Motorhead's picture

You got that shit right.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:41 | 3268444 harami
harami's picture

Best thing my dad ever taught me "Don't go the hospital unless you're dying, because if you're not, they'll make sure you are by the time you leave".

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:31 | 3268581 Michelle
Michelle's picture

And might I add that doctors and hospitals can bury their mistakes.

Modern medicine is great until you and others have to pay for it.

Once the kids are "off the payroll" (age 18) it makes little difference if I'm around, none of them should have to feed my face and wipe my sorry ass. Guess I'm one of those that doesn't believe in entitlements and that I "earned" it, at some point we become burdens to our families and society.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:52 | 3268820 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

we bury their mistakes, they bury their paperwork and evidence.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:37 | 3268596 Esso
Esso's picture

Agree. A poster on another forum once commented, "The worst thing that can happen to a person is a diagnosis."

Pretty sage.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 19:17 | 3268453 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

Puhlease.  Widowmaker doesn't go to the doctor because doctors are SHILLS!

Last visit, a family member was diagnosed with a "super-virus" in their eye.   What the fuck is a super-virus?  A $120 office "visit," and a $7.00 trip to the pharmacy.

Where are all the doctors in the health care debate?  Paying themselves and their incorporated dick sucking racketeering syndicate known as the AMA. *slurp* *slurp*

Two biggest houses in any midwest small town- the banker and the doctor, if you can find one (insert syndicated dick-sucking above).


Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:32 | 3268772 BigDuke6
BigDuke6's picture

That's the sort of talk that gets you an extra big incision and a 'bad' operation in some places

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 18:50 | 3268458 reader2010
reader2010's picture

Welcome to the Modernity aka Capitalism in which money (aka profit) is always ahead of human needs. And let me quote the American thinker Immanuel Wallerstein (1930 - ) here:


It is simply not true that capitalism as a historical system has represented progress over the various previous historical systems that it destroyed or transformed. Even as I write this, I feel the tremour that accompanies the sense of blasphemy. I fear the wrath of the gods, for I have been moulded in the same ideological forge as all my compeers and have worshipped at the same shrines.

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 20:38 | 3268785 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

I can tell you are the type of person that doesnt care about words and meanings but what the heck here goes

bank bailouts, a central bank, thousands and thousands of laws, import tax, export tax, medicare, medicaid, social security, war on terror,  are NOT in any way associated with capitalism. They are socialist and fascist. 


Can you understand that jackass? answer I already know you cannot.

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