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IPFS News Link • Politics: Republican Campaigns

Ron Paul Highlights in Jacksonville GOP / CNN Debate - 1/26/12


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Comment by Dennis Treybil
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 Healthcare - or something else - deserves a lot more prority than going to the moon.


13:00  My name is Lynn Frasier and I live here in Jacksonville.  And for the Republican presidential candidates my question is:

I'm currently unemployed.  And I found myself unemployed for the first time in ten years and unable to afford healthcare benefits.  What type of hope can you promise me and others in my position?

PAUL:  Well it's a tragedy . . . because . . . this is a consequence of the government being involved in medicine since 1965. When I was growing up, we didn't have a whole lot, but my dad had a small insurance.  But medical care costs were not that much.  You should have an opportunity . . . medical care insurance should be given to you as an individual so if you're employed or not employed you have - you just take care of that. You keep it up.  You lose your job sometimes you lose your insurance.  But the cost is so high.

When you pump money into something like housing, costs, prices go up.  If you pump money into education, the cost of education goes up.  When the government gets involved in medicine, you don't get better care.  You get ... cost just goes up.  And it distorts the economy and leads to a crisis.  But your medical care should go with you.  You should get total deduction on it.

It would be so much less expensive.  It doesn't solve every single problem.  But you're suffering from the consequences of way too much government and the costs going up because the government has inflated the costs.

And we have a government-created recession.  And that is a consequence of the business cycle. 


Just to comment on these remarks . . .

At one point Paul says individuals should get a full tax deduction for health care insurance costs.  What happened to the 0% income tax?

On another point, Paul talks about infusions of money from the government into various industries increasing costs without necessarily improving the product or service delivered.  In this case this huge pile of money - the national treasury plus the full faith and credit of the public - is included in this pile of money.  What happens when you have a big pile of money in plain view?  A lot of people will go to great lengths to get that money - some by earning it - others not so much by earning it - just GETTING it.

Private payers end up paying the same price as government-backed providers.

In 1970, I got a very bad case of the flu.  It was bad enough that I had to be hospitalized for 5 days.  Total cost was $300.  That included doctor visits, medicine, the room, the works.

In 2010 I had to be in the hospital for five days.  The room was $1,300/day+.  And that's just the room.  There was a line-item charge for everything that came into the room.  I don't recall seeing a line-item for meals, so maybe meals were included, but that was all.  A calcium tablet had a charge of $1.00.  (not bad considering, but you can get 'em in the store for about a dime).  The total charges came to $40,000.  I'm paying out of pocket so they took $17,000.  I'm paying it out over 5 years.

How do you get from $300 for five days to $40,000 for five days?!  You can only accomplish THAT with government help!

This is what happens if you have one astronomically large pile of money.  Does insurance help?

Well, let's throw in 50 more large piles of money for each state's medicaid assistance.  And then let's throw in something like 1,500 (from an insurance course I took in 2000) piles of money somewhat smaller than that from the various private healthcare provider insurance companies.  Do they help?  Well, not really, since they've been there the whole time.  Even Paul alludes to a small policy his dad had before 1965 when government first got involved in healthcare.

Even those big piles of money are large enough to distort the economy, or at least the healthcare market, to such an extent that private payers were at a disadvantage.  The cost of Paul's father's policy may have been modest in terms of today's dollars, but back then it was out of reach of a lot of people.  That disadvantage created the window of opportunity for the camel of government to get its proverbial nose under the tent of health care.

So if one HUGE pile of money doesn't help, and 50 smaller but still very large piles of money don't help, and 1,500 somewhat smaller, but still large, piles of money don't help, how about 300,000,000 eentsy bits teeny weeny yellow polka dotted piles of money in individual pockets?

Well, where did those 1,500 relatively small piles of money come from to begin with?

One point that I have NEVER heard made in the so-called health care issue, not even by Congressman Paul, is this:

Extensive batteries of medical tests, procedures, treatments and drugs do not assure health.  Nor should these in anywise be confused with health. 

The use of the term "healthcare" encourages this confusion, and I wish to dispell it.

My father enjoyed good health for the first 84 years of his life.  For the last 4 years, he had serious problems.  He made 11 trips to the hospital for a total of 180 days or so.

I saw a lot of things.  Some of the things I saw led me to seriously question how much of what was being done was for his benefit and how much was being done just to make money for somebody.  He was in his mid 80's.  He had advanced degenerative arthritis.  They sent an orthopedic surgeon in for a consult.  It was the same guy our personal physician had sent us to.  On our visit to him, he examined the xrays and told us there was nothing he could do.  He said that another appointment had already been automatically generated but that he would not be mad if we didn't show up.  When he walked into our hospital room, he recognized us and shook his head and walked out in disgust.

My take on the guy was that he wanted to devote his TIME to patients who could actually BENEFIT from his services.  Daddy was way past that.  Our personal physician knew it, but he made money on a referal.  The hospital physician in charge of Daddy's case knew it too, but the hospital recieved referal fees. The orthopedic surgeon knew it.  I knew it.  We ALL know it.

Sure, the doctor got paid money.  But money is printed.  Time, in stark contrast, is NOT printed.  And, I like to think, this doctor didn't work JUST for money.  He really wanted to help people.  He couldn't help daddy.  Seeing daddy even the first time deprived him of time he might have devoted to patients he could help.  He was robbed of a measure of his time by this scheme.  And when he was sent to see us in the hospital, he did not conceal his disgust.  I don't think he was disgusted with us - he was disgusted with the system.

Think of me and daddy.  We both paid taxes.  So we got robbed by the government so they could have the money they had printed to give to the doctor.  And then we got robbed of our time too.  One person's time ticks off the clock just like anybody else's.  My time and daddy's time ticked off the clock just like the good doctor's time.  How freely and gladly would we have given the time (and our money) to an effort that would help daddy!  But there was no way it was ever gonna' help daddy.  It only helped the doctors involved make money.  We were robbed of our time and our money.

I am a self-described milquetoast.  Meek mild-mannered DC Treybil, completely satisfied at being able to walk around under my own power thank you very much, and completely unconcerned with my lack of ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound, outrace speeding bullets or stop on-coming locomotives, etc.  But I got blind raging mad within 15 minutes of leaving the orthopedic surgeon's office.  And I've got mad over this a lot more than 3 times, because this fight ain't over.

Daddy had been on pills for diabetes for better than 10 years.  I was on 'em too.  On his second of eleven hospital stays, he was put on insulin.  This was in July.  By mid-October, his sugar levels had stabilized.  For the remaining 3 1/2 years of his life, he required no treatment for diabetes.

As it just so happened, "our" family physician had kept me on pills for diabetes for over 5 years.  They weren't helping.  After seeing all this,  I switched doctors, demanded insulin and got it.  It took 2 years, but eventually, my sugar levels stabilized and I have not required treatment for diabetes in over 2 years.

How can this happen?!  Why abandon insulin, a proven effective treatment for these pills that HARM people?  How many hundred billion dollars are spent annually for prescriptions medications?  Every single one of those dollars is another reason for those who profit from that industry to lie.  And lie they do!

Look at Avandia.  That's what I was taking.  It causes all sorts of heart and liver problems.  Remember that wall poster from the 70's with two vultures sitting on a cactus in the desert looking over a bleak baren terrain littered with cattle skulls?  One vulture says to the other, "Patience my @$$.  I'm gonna' KILL something!!!"

Is this industry trying to cure people?  No!  If these first-hand observations are any indication, it's trying to do something to keep them coming back and PAYING each time.  And not only do they keep people who are already sick coming back for the rest of their lives, they make them sicker.  In that, they're exactly  like those aforementioned vultures!

And then, just when you think it cannot possibly get any worse, here come the lawyers and the television ads about the class action suits . . .

There's that old bureaucratic axiom:  Bureaucrats make work for each other .  . .

Back to the last 4 years of daddy's life.  The mecical industry, except for the insulin, did not actually restore his health.  They just kept him from dying.  They staved off death. And I'm glad for every day I had with him.

On the other hand, I seriously question whether such treatment will be available for me, should I ever need it.  I also question whether I would go through it.  Having seen what it was like for him . . .  It's been less than a year since he passed, so I'm still processing.  Should that situation ever arise, I just hope I have the OPTIONS he had.  That's in doubt.

And this sort of goes back to Paul's remarks at time index 11:35:

 * * * * *

Healthcare - or something else - deserves a lot more prority than going to the moon.

 * * * *

Going to the moon is not so high on Paul's priority list.  And maybe it shouldn't be.  Was it too soon to go to the moon in the 1960's?  Well maybe not to go, but as far as establishing a sustained mission in space, it was definitely too soon for that.  Now, the good ol' USoA beat Russia to the moon.  Hooray!  We won!  But let's face it, we did so because we could print money.  The dollar became the world reserve currency in the early 1960's or so, and on that basis, deficit spending was defended and the space race was pursued with abandon.

Here's one of the ironies of space travel:  One reason to go to space is to mine resources on other planets.  But, with the same amount of energy estimated to be required to make travel to other planets (and especially to other star systems) practical, you can manufacture mass of suffient quantity to satisfy such needs without actually going into space.

Of course, acquisition of minerals is not the only reason to go into space.  But the very real benefits realized by allocation of that amount of resources to other endeavors versus the long-shot promise of possible benefits from the space program is not such a hard thing to see.

It's also not hard to see the fact that Russia got into space first.  And they might well have got to the moon first had the USoA not acquired the ability to print money.  Which, with the status of the dollar as the world reserve currency in question, calls into question whether a massive health care industry is sustainable.

In the original series of Star Trek, there was an episode called "The Omega Glory" in which Kirk recites the preamble to the constitution for the United States of America.  In that same episode, McCoy makes a memorable quote (gistwise):

 * * *

They live that long here because it's NATURAL for them to live this long.  There is no magic potion here, no fountain of youth.  I can do more for you if you just eat right and get plenty of rest and exercise!

 * * *

A physician who was a personal friend about 30 years ago told me that medicine was a great racket to be in.  The patient did all the work and the doctor got paid.  In this quote, McCoy sorta' takes credit. "I can do more for you . . ."  But it's up to the patient "to eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest".

Dammit McCoy - you're a doctor, not a miracle worker!

Blitzer poses a question at time index 9:35.  That question and Paul's response says it all.  Health is up to the patient.

And that's not the only thing better left to the individual.  And that's not the only thing government needs to stay out of, especially the federal government.  And Ron Paul is the only candidate with any serious proposals to move things in that direction.

There's more I'd like to work in here.  But life is too short and this comment is already way too long. 

DC Treybil

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