Coping: With Renting Your Life / The New Slavery

I’m heavily into templates.  You know  – everything from some simple task like drawing, painting “by numbers” or any of the million and one things that go into making hypercomplexity work.

Short form there’s no question that templates work.  Take Obamacare, for example.  The idea is simple:  spread around costs more equitably and everyone should be better off.  But the real outcome of Obamacare (which missed the mark [single-payer]) is nothing more than a conglomeration of bad ideas, but ideas which profit the insurance industry.

Not a day goes by that headlines don’t cross the wires that back-up my assertion

    And the problem just gets worse from there.

    In the past week, I’ve been going around with my local doc’s billing office:  When I moved from a high-end (car payment sized medical payment monthly) to Medicare, I duly informed my doc’s office.  Yet, somehow, the latest “lube, oil, and filter” bill went to the old insurance outfit and so far it looks to be resolved with a $65-dollar copay for services that in fact should cost only about $250 (max, being generous here) but that get billed to an insurance company at just under $500.

    One of the biggest scams in America – that somehow the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t touch – is this horse-pucky of billing different people different rates.

    It’s like when I had my (burst) appendectomy back in 2006, or so:  There “rack rate” was $17,000 and change.  But the Big Insurance Company rate was only $7,900.

    The FTC (and other pseudo-consumer groups) make specious arguments that the reason this is all “OK” is that the Big Insurance Companies have was amount to “bulk purchase agreements” where statistically they will buy so many surgeries per year and that’s why the insurance company gets a lower rate.

    But, in fact, the delivery is the issue here:  The Big Insurance Companies were buying healthcare wholesale – marking it up dramatically – and then retailing it at a higher price than their costs so in practice, they made money both on the mark-up as well as an intricate system of co-pays.  Toss in the annual deductible, that varies by plan, and excluding certain procedures and costs, and pretty soon you’ve got a hugely profitable business.

    The real money is medicine is not in making people well.  It’s in the continuous bloodletting of their wallets.

    And that’s where we are with Obamacare.

    The reason that the insurance industry gives millions to the political campaigns of senatoids, congressoids and state legislators is not so they will come give vision and motivation speeches to their executives cadres.  That’s what they’d ask you to believe, but any fool can see the ugly reality here is simple:  They’re just looking to keep “buying” that amazing profit margin that comes from a multi-tiered business model based on entirely fictional costs.

    Thinking back to my appendectomy, I say a $6-single tablet of Tylenol on my bill.  Arguing the point it was explained to me that yes, the pill was almost free, but I was paying for the record-keeping.  Eventually we negotiated our way through that, the Big Insurance Company that had screwed up on my coverage finally paid the bill (the $7,900 one) but not before the “direct payment good squad” didn’t first try to extort $17,900 out of me for the same service.

    But this is a fine example of how “law” – nominally supposed to protect people – fails but it readily twisted into a profiteer’s delight.  If law were rational (no worries, it’s not) it would note that the hospital end customer is the patient who receives services is being unequally billed.

    The reason, obviously, that the FTC (or whoever) isn’t all over this like white on rice is because it creates jobs, and for the past 40-years, increasingly more campaign money.  Hence, the twist in contract law:  The services are sold to an insurance outfit, which then is doling out the healthcare, so under contract law the two services (deliver to potentially the same person) are treated as different sorts of transactions.

    Same hospital, same docs, same nursing staff.  The FTC has no balls in this, however, because there’d be a massive unemployment problem (and there for the juicy campaign dollars) as a result.  So now, with few changes, everyone is being herded into the insurance industry at gunpoint.  What’s not to love?

    That was sad, though momentarily I had held out the impossible hopes that Obamacare would resolve such crap.  So far, it hasn’t.

    In fact, next level play has arrived:  In a follow-up to our meeting last week, Oilman2 has spotted the “new game” – which is where the doctoring business is now busting people – sending them down the road  – because of their credit scores:

    Three weeks ago, wife went to our family practice physician. We been using her since she started practicing medicine 20 years ago. She has been in independent medical corporations until 6 months ago. She joined a hospital corporation due to the Obamacare paperwork and malpractice insurance regulations changes (squeezing more out of doctors for less coverage). Now she can do as she normally does, operating under the hospital corporations better malpractice umbrella, and off-loading paperwork. Instead of 3 nurses and 6 admin to handle claims, she has 4 nurses and ONE admin.

    Her copay is now $55 instead of $35. She cannot accept cash, checks or debit cars – just MC & VISA – no AMEX.

    The wife and I have 3 credit cards that have zero unpaid balance, 1 car financed with draw on specific account where we keep 2 notes worth of balance, a mortgage and a note on the farm which we are never late on.

    The hospital corp informed our doctor that they recommend she drop us. After being pressed by me, she finally blurted out that there was nothing she could do because our credit score was too low.

    Sooooo….. now shopping for FamPrac doc in town 30 miles down the road – about 2x as far, but more independents (for now).   Be interested if this credit score baloney (my bank balance approaches 6 figures) has bitten other of your readers…


    Remember what I said about the hospital bill goon squads?  Frank Nitti would be proud.

    The gunpoint rental of healthcare is merely symptomatic of the larger issue to ponder over that second cup:  The renting of your Life.

    This is all part and parcel of converting the world’s (on-time) leading democracy into the world’s leading socialist sham, all the while enriching (and socialist countries always do) a handful of people at the top who profit from being better than all the rest of us and pretending to lead. Self-appointed benevolent dicktators  (sic) who “don’t wait for Congress.”

    The hallmark of socialism is the disappearance of private ownership and the mandating  or allowance of ONLY of state-declared consumption.

    You don’t have a choice when it comes to water to drink:  Get it, or die.  Yet in places like Detroit, if you haven’t been following it, people are having their water turned off because they can’t pay the bureaucratically inflated water bills.

    And when bills can’t be paid, government steps in and makes the problem even worse for the very people who can’t afford it by means of punitive fees, fines, and penalties.

    Bet’cha those stories don’t get played up up in Guanomala or Belies.  No, partner, what gets played up in the Obamanation’s free lunch is now serving with the Idiocracy’s chief spokeswoman on tout this weekend.

    Even if you think you own your life and that you’re a “free person” the truth argues persuasively contrary:

      • You “rent” your income.  If you don’t pay income tax, you’re income will be taken away and you will become a guest of the state.  Compliance is mandatory.
      • You “rent” your health.  If you don’t have government-required fees, you will be punished.
      • You “rent” your food.  Crackdowns on organic home gardens are afoot in the patent scramble by seed companies to wipe out heritage seeds and charge people for growing their own food.  (We saw that in Iraq and please notice how well that’s working out.)
      • You “Rent” your home:  Even  if you think you bought it, try missing a payment or skipping taxes and get back to me.
      • You rent your car.  By the time you pay for it, it’s value is gone.  The auto industry is another highly organized sucker game.  If you “buy” a car but it has no effective residual value, it becomes indistinguishable from “rent.”
      • You “rent” the ability to drive:
      • Rent a drivers license for a fixed term
      • Rent an auto license for a fixed term
      • Rent driving on “toll roads” which were one paid for with tax money before being turned over to the private sector to re-rent to the public
      • You “rent” your job in the sense of employment taxes
      • You “rent” your entertainment:  Local option taxes to pay for stadiums and fees on electronic systems like cable.
      • You “rent” emergency services through a 9-1-1- tax in most systems

      I could go on all day about how you rent your life. ‘

      But the point of this morning is that when we get around to celebrating the Fourth of July this week, I’m not sure anymore just what the hell I’m celebrating:

      American beat back the Nazis in World War II and we fought socialism to a stand-still in the Cold War.

      But in the intervening years, we have gone whacko – adopting the worst practices of the enemies we have defeated.

      We’ve become socialist with a healthy dose of national-socialism and a once proud middle class has been reduced to renting pretty much everything from overseers of different aspects of life.

      Slavery was (and is) a terrible thing.  But calling America a “democracy” when titanic forces buy legislation and election outcomes and when life must be rented at all levels, is that a democracy?

      America used to have Unions.  But those are quickly sinking out of sight.  And as the hoards come in through our administrated-away borders, you’d think Union people would see how jobs in the building trades will shortly disappear:  And building inspectors oughta get the word shortly no red –flagging illegal’s putting in wiring or other jobs without contractor licenses.  Can’t have racists, you know.

      Hard-headed, absolutism is gone.  Pseudo-science and pseudo-government meet on everything from climate to immigration to healthcare and the public returns the same idiots to office believing the last broken promise will be set right again.

      It’s an amazingly dysfunctional country, is it not?

      Or, in a weird irony of history, have we arrived at the rollout of techno-slavery, which we’re just too dumbed down to recognize?

      You tell me: What again am I supposed to be celebrating Friday?  Did we just “rent” democracy with the World War II payment?  The Korea Payment, the Desert Storm payment?

      This seems like a reasonable time to be asking such question and your comments are welcome, but what’s going on in ‘Merica, on many fronts today, sure looks like a country that’s no longer willing to pay the “rent” on many things…including (and most especially) a future that makes sense.

      Write when you break-even (or wake someone the ‘f up)