Guest Post: Anything The Government Gives You, The Government Can Take Away

Tyler Durden's picture

Via John Aziz of Azizonomics

From the Guardian:

A majority of doctors support measures to deny treatment to smokers and the obese, according to a survey that has sparked a row over the NHS‘s growing use of “lifestyle rationing”.


Some 54% of doctors who took part said the NHS should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatment from patients who do not lose weight or stop smoking. Some medics believe unhealthy behaviour can make procedures less likely to work, and that the service is not obliged to devote scarce resources to them.

And that’s the trouble with services and institutions run from the taxpayer’s purse, administered by centralists and bureaucrats. It becomes a carrot or a stick for interventionists to intervene in your life. Its delivery depends on your compliance with the diktats and whims of the democracy, or of bureaucrats. Your standard of living becomes a bargaining chip. Don’t conform? You might be deemed unworthy of hospital treatment.

It seems innocuous to promise all manner of services in exchange for taxes. Citizens may welcome the convenience, the lower overheads, the economies of scale. They may welcome a freebie, and the chance to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labour. They may feel entitled to it.

Many words have been spent on the problems of dependency; that rather than working for an honest living, the poor may be sucked into a vortex of entitlement, to such an extent that they lose the desire to produce. A tax-sucking multi-generational underclass can develop. Individuals can live entirely workless lives, enjoying a semi-comfortable existence on the teat of the taxpayer, enjoying the fruits — financial handouts, free education, free healthcare, a free home — of social engineers who believe that every problem under the sun can be remedied by government largesse and throwing money at problems. And who can blame them? Humans have sought out free lunches for as long as there have been humans.

Welfare dependency is generally assumed to be viewed negatively in the corridors of power. After all, broad welfare programs mean greater spending, and that very often means great debt. And why would a government want to be in debt? Surely governments would prefer it if more of the population was working and productive and paying taxes?

But it is easier to promote behaviour desired by the state when a population lives on state handouts. And for states that might want to influence the behaviour of their citizens — their resource consumption, their carbon footprint, their moral and ethical beliefs, or their attitude toward the state — this could be an attractive proposition. It might cost a lot to run a welfare system, but it brings a lot of power to influence citizens.

And increasingly throughout the Western world, citizens are becoming dependent on the state for their standard of living. In the UK, 92% of people are dependent on the socialist NHS for healthcare. 46 million Americans receive food stamps. That gives states a lot of leverage to influence behaviour. First it may be used in a (relatively sensible) attempt to curtail smoking and obesity. Beyond that, the sky is the limit. Perhaps doctors or bureaucrats may someday suggest withholding treatment or dole money from those who exceed their personal carbon or meat consumption quota? A tyrant could even withhold welfare from those who do not pledge their undying allegiance or military service to a regime or ideology (it happened many times last century). An underclass of rough and hungry welfare recipients is a fertile recruiting ground for military and paramilitary organisations (like the TSA).

With the wide expansion of welfare comes a lot of power, and the potential for the abuse of power. Citizens looking for a free lunch or an easier world should be careful what they wish for. Welfare recipients take note: you depend on government for your standard of living, you open yourself up to losing your liberty.

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Hobbleknee's picture

The article is about the NHS in the UK. Context, dude!

Cursive's picture


Yes, I understand the point of the post and I agree completely with the Gerald Ford quote (although Ford was just another statist).  I'm giving you a personal take on it.  Most doctors have busted their ass to get where they are, they know something that the vast majority of the population cannot relate to and yet, they find themselves pawns in a collectiveist power grab by the politboro.  Don't blame the doctors, most who enjoy what they do and whould like, as most of us would, to be left alone.

Desert Irish's picture

Ok it's simple, people who smoke and are overweight and denied medical assistance should have the option of opting out of paying taxes......they then could then avoid socialized healthcare and take out private medical insurance.

green888's picture

they have got the demographics wrong- over 50 and you should be encouraged to smoke, over 60 and it is compulsory- we need to be rid of all these old folks

i-dog's picture

I wouldn't count on that having much effect ... they might inhale!

From an Australian university study:

"These strong opinions for and against smoking were not supported by much evidence either way until 1950 when Richard Doll and Bradford Hill showed that smokers seemed more likely to develop lung cancer.


A campaign was begun to limit smoking. But Sir Ronald Fisher, arguably the greatest statistician of the 20th century, had noticed a bizarre anomaly in their results. Doll and Hill had asked their subjects if they inhaled. Fisher showed that men who inhaled were significantly less likely to develop lung cancer than non-inhalers.


Doll and Hill decided to follow their preliminary work with a much larger and protracted study. British doctors were asked to take part as subjects. 40.000 volunteered and 20,000 refused. The relative health of smokers, nonsmokers and particularly ex-smokers would be compared over the course of future years. In this trial smokers would no longer be asked whether they inhaled, in spite of the earlier result. Fisher commented: "I suppose the subject of inhaling had become distasteful to the research workers, and they just wanted to hear as little about inhaling as possible".


And: "Should not these workers have let the world know not only that they had discovered the cause of lung cancer (cigarettes) but also that they had discovered the means of its prevention (inhaling cigarette smoke)?"


"How had the MRC [Medical Research Council] the heart to withhold this information from the thousands who would otherwise die of lung cancer?"

LOL ... entirely typical of the Medical Research Industrial Complex.

Acet's picture

Actually the funny bit is that the overweight tend to be the poorest and least educated, which are often then ones that live on the dole, who don't actually pay any taxes.

You see, things like good quality fresh vegetables, fruits, meat and fish are more expensive than carb-heavy foods (rice, potatoes) or processed foods (made with the local equivalent of pink slime), both of which make you fat. Also nowadays it's the middle class and above that worry more about keeping fit.

This also partially applies to smoking.

That said, I agree with your idea - if you're denied access to the NHS you should not have to pay for it.

jwoop66's picture

Hamburger helper is not cheaper than broccoli.   Nor are pork rinds.

Don't try and say "the poor" eat crap because they cant afford good food.   Nonsense.  They can buy beer, cigs and lottery tickets,  Cell phones, cable, cars, weed, crack etc etc.

Why bother.  You'll never listen, understand or get it...  


lasvegaspersona's picture

here in the US some docs are quite liberal...they tend to be the ones who would prefer an extra rectal exam by the TSA 'just to be sure it is safe'. Conservative docs seem to be a bit more libertarian but some are a tad autocratic and I'm afraid would approve of such measures.

The problem is of course that the Feds are unable to control the natural impulses of all pass more laws and insert themselves in our every way. They have taken over medicine (with Obamacare it will be the ENTIRE system) only to discover ...ooops ...we can't pay for all we promised.

Instead of being pissed, the people roll over for higher taxes when they should be angry that they were lied to about the costs originally.

Rahm's picture

We were lied to? Them sons a bitches...

hedgeless_horseman's picture




Befriend your doctor as you would your saddle maker or your distiller.  No more so, and no less.


Healthcare IS NOT health insurance.  What?  Are we fucking stupid?


Short UNH 'till the cows come home.  
They are NOT a tech company.  How the FUCK are they going to grow quarterly earnings?  
Covered lives is DECLINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Nobody wants to pay $800/month premiums for $5,000 deductibles and 70/30 coinsurance.

Save your premium every month.  Be your own insurance company.

Wait until the providers send you a bill.  Look up the Medicare fee by the CPT code on your bill.  Offer your doctor and hosptal 90% of Medicare's fee schedule and count your money.  They will accept EVERY time.  Grow some balls.  NEVER PAY THE BILLED CHARGE!    Fuck the middle man!!!!!!




...or you can continue to take it in the ass like a good little plan member.


In the end, it is your choice.

duo's picture

Exactly.  Health "insurance", if applied to your automobile, would cover gasoline, tires, oil changes, AND be sold to you by Exxon Mobil.  It's not friggin insurance if it covers something you regularly use.

jwoop66's picture


further;  if i rely on someone else to make payment on something I use everyday, the cost will be higher because the person making the payments has expenses too.


Example:     I drink coffee every day.  Lets just assume for the argument that I buy this at a store. 

The coffee costs $1.   Since I don't like spending money on the  coffee, I buy coffee insurance.   The Insurance company charges the equivalent of $.50 per day.    They are taking the risk that not everyone buys coffee every day.  

Well, with my coffee insurance you can bet your ass I'm gonna buy coffee every day!   I spend $.50 cents a day to get "free" coffee!   I'm gonna get my money's worth!   Hell, I'm gonna get two or three cups of coffee now!   I't's Free! 

Everyone else thinks this way too.

The Coffee Store sees coffee is selling like never before!    Holy Crap!  Increased overhead to maintain increased demand!     Now their going to charge more.   Since the customer insn't paying, they start charging the insurance company $2 per cup.   The insurance company doesn't care they will just increase premiums.    Now they start increasing premiums.   First to $.75 cents a day.   I'm thinking, "damn insurance company raising rates!"    I'm getting four cups a day now! I'll show them.    I'm not getting a lid on my cup either,  if it spills the insurance company will pay for it! 

Now I'm drinking more coffee everyday.   The Coffee Store is charging even more per cup.   The evil insurance company just raised my rates for the fifth time!!!!!  And they put a limit on the amount of cups I can get.   

One damn cup a day!!

Now I pay $1.75 for one cup of coffee!     

Damn insurance company!

jwoop66's picture

You want cheap "health care"?    

Pay cash for small, recurring and or preventative care and use insurance for LARGE or expensive procedures. 


To reference the guy above... I'll pay for my gas and oil changes; even the new set of  tires, but  if the car gets totaled, NOW i'll use my  insurance.

Same with health care.

azusgm's picture

Good luck with that. Maybe if you offer BC/BS reimbursement rates and do it before receiving services. There are doctors who are declining to accept any new Medicare patients.

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Forget your doctor, and know thy cook and thy ingredients. If you eat meat from cannibalistic tortured animals, and grain laced with GMO taint, expect to have some side effects. Hell, spray a little Roundup in there while your at it, then run to the doctor for another poison pill. Snakeoil for snakeoil, their hungry, but their belly's full.

The Alarmist's picture

Befriend thy undertaker, for he will be thy last caretaker on earth.

Loose Caboose's picture

Oh right.  I guess the only way to receive welfare - to depend on the government's largesse with no strings attached - is to be deemed "too big to fail."

In truth, there are generations that subsist on the government teat just as there are those who genuinely need to rely on the social safety net for a period in their life when things get seriously shitty for them and they need a little help to get back on the rails. 

At at time when the upper layer of the financial elite are sucking as much of the cream to the top for themselves as they can possibly manage, we need to be careful not to lose our humanity. 

Welfare recipients are not the only ones losing their liberty.  It is lost to us all.  We will never get it back as long as we cut ourselves off from each other with this divisive sort of attitude.  Welfare recipients are not the enemy of a healthy economy.  They are a symptom of a sick one.

Milton Waddams's picture

"The upper layer of the financial elite are sucking as much of the cream to the top for themselves as they can possibly manage"


Head banging insanity begins when the realization that they are legally required to do so.

In a lessor age there was the 'socialist' concept of a utility

URZIZMINE's picture

In my opinion about 50% of hospitalizations are due directly or indirectly to personal choice issues. Obesity, alcoholism, diabetes, drug use, not wearing seat belts, smoking, never getting exercise, eating shitty food, never seeing a dentist or doctor, having bad relationships etc. If people don't want to take care of themselves, why should I have to pay for them?

smiler03's picture

Well if your opinion (I'm guessing you're not a healthcare professional) is correct then 50% of your fellow citizens must just be "unlucky" to die from one of the top ten causes of death in the US. (OK you can ignore suicide, the mentally ill just have themselves to blame /s)


Number of deaths for leading causes of death
  • Heart disease: 599,413
  • Cancer: 567,628
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 137,353
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,842
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 118,021
  • Alzheimer's disease: 79,003
  • Diabetes: 68,705
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,935
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 36,909

jwoop66's picture

No idea what nephritis is, but as to most of the rest of your list - Yeah, probably a good deal of self-infliction goin on...

xela2200's picture

The states got all that money from the tobacco companies to meet the "health" hazard that smokers pose to the system. Remember the litigation of the 90's? They even got them to pay an on going fee to anti-tobacco smoke free crap, so they can put the stupid commercials on TV. I have been watching the frog dissection commercial all day.


So what that f**ck is their problem now? Just do another useless lottery or fast five or whatever scratch card scheme bs.

MinnesotaMD's picture

I tried to bill for cash at a lower rate to reflect the savings I obtained by getting direct payment without claims/collections etc. involved.

Insurance found out about it, and I almost got thrown off their list. I had violated fine print in contract. But if enough people are outside of insurance coverage, it is a tempting way to go.

The Alarmist's picture

Healthcare might actually be more affordable if people paid for their own instead of assuming that some faceless "they" were taking care of it. Single-payer is the biggest fraud foisted upon the masses in our lifetime.

cherry picker's picture

I smoke.  Quit for 12 years once.  You know something, I've had healthy friends die already.

My cardilogist recommended I smoke as my blood presure is halfway normal when I do.  "You didn't hear it from me, but smoking will kill you, if you don't your ticker will get you first."  That was thirty years ago.

I don't want anyone to pay for my "health" care.  I just want the opportunity to pay myself, a reasonable price for a reasonable sevice.  If I can't get that I'll do without.

The few times I have been injured and saw a doctor, I paid for it.

They should just shut down government for awhile, we may all be better off.

Dr Benway's picture

Your cardiologist recommended smoking?

cherry picker's picture

No lie.  I had a heart attack while a non smoker and was in great shape.  I started smoking about a year later.  I refused to take medication or nitro pills.

He asked me when my blood pressure went down whether I was working out more.  "No, I quite working out, started smoking again and have a beer once in awhiile."

Crazy, isn't it?

dognamedabu's picture

The medical term for what you are experiancing is called - Relaxation

I am playing with this little firecracker of a pinksheet co who promises to be able to bottle it up and sell it for a 10000% markup.. Namaste.



dognamedabu's picture

What it is is this sponge that has suds full of peace and contentment. Totally cutting edge product. Can you imagine your wife coming home from Walmart after a hards day work and you, with your sponge, waiting to give her the peace she deserves? To the moon I tell ya

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


The medical term for what you are experiancing is called - Relaxation

The botanical term is called Cannabis sativa.


Red Heeler's picture

"We can't reach old age by another man's road. My habits protect my life but they would assassinate you." - Mark Twain

ArgentoFisico's picture

Yes. His Name is Dr. Benway

mophead's picture

You're no more or less likely to get lung cancer if a) you don't smoke, b) were a former smoker, or c) smoke regularly.

Smoking doesn't cause lung cancer. That is a plain fact.

smiler03's picture

You are one ignorant moron. Your fellow moron you are quoting is as qualified in medicine as a premature baby. Using his logic could also show that because 10% of car accidents are caused by drunk drivers that sober drivers are more dangerous because they cause 90% of car accidents. 

BUPA is the leading private health insurer in the UK. Here's their take on the causes of lung cancer:

"Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer, causing around 9 in 10 lung cancers. Passive or second-hand smoking (breathing in other peoples smoke is also linked to lung cancer."


NidStyles's picture

At least you aren't cursed like those of us with insanely low blood pressure. If my heart were to beat any softer, I'd be dead. It takes them three tries usually just to get an accurate reading.

dognamedabu's picture

Well here in Canada my doc already told me that I have to stop reading Zerohedge. He says it's bad for my heart. I pleaded, but he wasn't having any of it. So sorry guys, this is about it for me here. I may be able to find a proxy server so I can keep informed but between Canada's health service and the America's NSA I am afraid there are not many other choices for me. 

jonan's picture

when i first found this site i wanted to kill myself...

Dr. Sandi's picture

when i first found this site i wanted to kill myself...

Me too. But after a few short days, I started wanting to kill everybody else instead.

eaglefalcon's picture

How true, people who suck government teats end up sucking government Richard instead

CABill's picture

Governments are accustomed to owning indivuduals.  Join the US Military, you become government property.  Once public funds are used for your health, you become the custodian of your body as government property.  


Socialized medicine is all about government owning your body, if not your soul.  


Worse than that, it's about a faceless bureaucracy owning your body.

dwdollar's picture

What do people expect??? When you deal with the devil your ass is gonna get burnt sooner or later. IF people don't understand the government is the devil they need a lesson. What better lesson than denial of healthcare.

mophead's picture

Socialized medicine is all about government owning your body, if not your soul. 

Sadly, they already own everyone's soul. At least most everyone. It's called the Media/Religion.

Essential Nexus's picture

The really scary thing is if government forces you to buy/use the government service (healthcare, etc.) and then restricts it.  The government will generally never ever betray the class it has made dependent. 

dwdollar's picture

The government taxes the hell out of you for public education, but in order for your kids to get a REAL education you have to send them to a private school or tutor them yourself.

Eventually, health care will be the same way or worse. In order to get the real life saving stuff you'll have to pay out of pocket or with extended coverage. Most people won't be able to afford it because they'll already be taxed to the max.

Dr. Sandi's picture

Public education isn't for your kids anyway. It's for the society at large. It's always nice to have a large percentage of the population who can at least read and write.

That way, when you're at Denny's, the waitzombie can write down your order. And your mechanic can give you a written estimate. And your carpenter can figure out how high to mount the manacles in your dungeon.

But you still won't be able to read that scrawl that your doctor wrote on the prescription.

Besides, if we didn't have compulsory schooling, the little bastards would be loose all day spray painting your car. At least with the modern day care system, they're mostly in one place where a SWAT team can deal with them if necessary.

Toxicosis's picture

Healthcare is NOT a right.  It used to be a privilege here in Canada, and it used to be so in the US I believe under EMTALA.  People have to pay for everything else in life unless the government "provides" some sort of access to it, eg. food stamps.  However, if you CHOOSE to drink yourself shitfaced, smoke cigs or dope, eat shit food and eat out all the time, not keep fit, and lead a slovenly or higher risk lifestyle, then be prepared to pay for it, cause why should anyone clean up someone's else's mess or results of shitty habits.  Not my fault and I'll take care of myself and save my money to look after myself if need be.

Libertarian777's picture

it's so true

The only rights we have (enshrined in the constitution or not) are the right to be free and to be alive. No one (including government) should be allowed to take that right away from you, except where you've taken someone else's rights away first.

Driving, healthcare, iPads, cellphones, education are a privileges. It is something we should strive towards and work towards (and obtain through the free market), but it is not a right and should not be enforced at the barrel of a gun.

The problem is people equate all 'privileges' as those, and ONLY, those provided by the government, but forget that things like having candy is a privilege. It need not be provided by the government, but it is privilege to be able to afford and eat candy vs bread alone. There is no RIGHT to candy/cars/ipads/SNAP/healthcare.

What you're talking about is personal responsibility, unfortunately people prefer that government take responsibility, then they can blame government for unemployment, their personal debt etc. Let us not forget, the government only exists because we allow ourselves to be subject to it. Unfortunately too many people are a sleep and not responsible enough to vote out the status quo, and thus the circle continues.

Toxicosis's picture

You're exactly right, the death of personal responsibility has occurred principally over the last 4 decades.  What we have now is a population who play the poor me 'victim'.  Always looking for a handout, or to shift the blame, or not recognize they got themselves into their 'god' awful mess.  It's no different than if one of your kids completely destroy their room and turn around to you and say "I know I messed it up, but can you clean it up for me".  However, these people are all the way up into their 70's and even 80's sometimes.  Life has been far too easy, and most importantly I remember hearing as a kid that life isn't fair.  Well holy shit, isn't that a revelation.  Healthcare especially should NOT be charity unless someone wants to provide it as such.  People who bitch about having to pay for healthcare are oftentimes the same ones who have no problem buying a Lexus or a Mercedes SUV and plugging that bitch full of gas and than complaining it's gonna cost them when they stuff their face with McDonald's or Starbucks almost everyday, which they choose to spend money on, and then say what the hell is this, you mean my healthcare is also gonna cost me something.  I'll tell you it makes me sick, and I deal with it everyday.

smiler03's picture

I'd love to know what the average lifespan of an American would be if only those who can afford healthcare get it. Probably about the same as Zimbabwe (42.6 years).

And more importantly, who the hell would be doing all the menial minimum wage paying jobs? Fit and Healthy Wealthy Adults?