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Medical needs

Rufus Laggren


Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 349
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
    
    4
In another forum Erica W. mentioned some of her experiences and wondered about ideas for affordable medical care/coverage.

I'm afraid I don't have any decent ideas, but I do have some thoughts. I recently had to figure out the least debilitating way to get coverage and I'm afraid it didn't improve my attitude in the least.

Erica

I think you hit on THE reason people will have to stay connected to the "mainstream" economy. Even with a change of attitude toward death or caring for the aged and disabled, there is a lot of health care needed by everybody. There are numerous "tactical" methods, such as connecting with any local clinics or teaching hospitals, finding and using midwives instead of doctors etc. But that depends on the specific person and locale and has a limited scope.

If I were just out of school I would seriously consider enlisting in the services for a set term depending on what life time medical coverage was offered. I don't know any other options for medical planning that doesn't involve continuously paying significant (and increasing) money each and every single month until you die. Paychecks from large businesses hide this mostly but it's one of the most important ways they draw people to work their 9-5 jobs forever.

I don't see any real alternatives (solutions) because the system grows out of people's willingness to pay almost anything for their loved ones and a whole lot for themselves in the hopes of a cure (for whatever). In other worlds fearful or desperate people will beggar themselves for medical treatment. That irresistible temptation has drawn all the most ambitious money makers in our world together and they have made a system to extract as much as the market will bear.

This is not merely a moral judgment, it's written into our laws. Corporate officers are required by law to do the best for their shareholders that they possibly can. The only measure of "doing well" for a corporation is distributing large and increasing dividends; there is NO other measure of corporate success except continuous large and increasing MONETARY profit. It is the sine qua non. All other goals are subordinate. And by law corporate officers must do the best by their company or face civil and possibly criminal charges.

Two (of many) more ordinary considerations that maintain the present system: 1) The cost of equipment required for basic medical procedures (X-rays; remove an appendix) is far beyond the reach of any small group (say of doctors). This means that corporations must be involved in all but the most benign or trivial medical work. 2) If a smaller group did coalesce to provide basic treatment under a different compensation model, they would not survive a year w/out serious mal-practice insurance. This would hike their overhead and greatly increase the fees they would have to meet expenses and stay out of jail. (People die after seeing a doctor. Of course, people die after seeing their minister or mother (or whoever else happens to be around) also, but the doctor is in the direct line of blame. A serious injury or death will almost always make somebody very very very distraught, angry and totally willing to take it out on somebody in front of them to blame. There _will_ be serious lawsuits - that's the way this country functions.)

No, I don't have any good answers. At the moment my choice is Kaiser (CA) and hopefully I will be able to maintain that. I don't know any other "insurance" that comes close their value. I've heard Oregon and Mass. have "good" systems, but since I'm not likely to live there, I don't know much about them. I have read the Amish self insure and generally pay as you go for not-always-great treatment; they pay as little as they can. Yes, they will accept treatment at modern facilities. They are the only group I know of right off that actively stands outside the norm in a consistent way that includes their medical treatment.

Food is a dirt simple and easy DIY project compared to medical treatment. It appears this is where the rubber meets the road vv. a person's relationship to our economic culture and our larger institutions.

The Amish get on as well as they do because they are a cohesive united group with significant savings who pay taxes completely and early and they provide economic benefits to their local community in the form of cheap honest extremely hardworking labor and cash flowing into the farm stores of the community. IOW, even though they keep to themselves, they play an active functioning respected role for their community and maintain their state and federal responsibilities religiously(!). And they PAY ALL BILLS IMMEDIATELY and as far as I know in cash; debt is abhorrent to them. They are the only people I know of who don't either pay out to insurance companies or grind through the system as indigents. And I don't think I or many others could be Amish so that's no solution.

Rufus
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4234
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  62
Just bumping this to the top.


QUOTES FROM MEMBERS --- In my veterinary opinion, pets should be fed the diet they are biologically designed to eat. Su Ba...The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know. I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one. John Polk ...Even as we sit here, wondering what to do, soil fungi are degrading the chemicals that were applied. John Elliott ... O.K., I originally came to Permies to talk about Rocket Mass Heaters RMHs, and now I have less and less time in my life, and more and more Good People to Help ! Al Lumley...I think with the right use of permie principles, most of Wyoming could be turned into a paradise. Miles Flansburg... Then you must do the pig's work. Sepp Holzer
wayne stephen
steward

Joined: Mar 11, 2012
Posts: 1771
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
    
  98
IMHO . Paying for routine medical care with insurance is like paying for tune ups and oil changes with your auto insurance. The best bet is to pay for a catastrophic insurance plan with a high deductible . Then stay healthy and drive safe. Don't smoke , eat light , exercise. Oh , and take cod liver oil.


Permaculture is CPR for the planet !


Rufus Laggren


Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 349
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
    
    4
Wayne

Yeah, that's what I thought...

However, there are a number of simple but important maintenance procedures ("oil change") which can get pretty expensive w/out triggering the insurance. Not perhaps as expensive as paying "full coverage" but right on up there. It's a problem.

I believe it's worth being preemptive about finding doctors who will give you the best deal possible. Regular exams, shots, small chronic problems getting bigger all should be attended to and doing so can be part a process of finding medical peole worth trusting. A few medical groups will discount heavily if you pay cash and that helps. Hopefully more will consider that path. The list prices of most medical services are right out of fantasy land because of the constant and intricate manipulations done by insurance companies when negotiating reimbursements with very large groups (governments, unions and corporations). A very few medical business recognize that these prices shouldn't' apply to somebody who is themself simply and actually going to PAY them, immediately in cash. But you have to ask, and when you really must get help there is usually not a lot of time to call around. So using and discovering your local med system in small amount regularly might be a very good idea.

Rufus

David Livingston
pollinator

Joined: Apr 24, 2013
Posts: 970
Location: Anjou ,France
    
  29
Without getting too political for those of us across the pond here in Europe view such discussions with bemusement as healthcare here is a given most of us dont even think about it.
Why the richest country in the world cannot afford Universal health care when many of the much poorer countries can to me is a mystery.

David


Living in Anjou , France
leila hamaya
pollinator

Joined: Jun 30, 2012
Posts: 736
Location: northern northern california
    
  30
not really close to what the OP may be getting at, but worth some thoughts.

http://www.swsbm.com/HOMEPAGE/Anarcho-herbalism.html

ANARCHO-HERBALISM

There is an alternative to "alternative medicine". Southwestern herbalist, author, and teacher Michael Moore probably said it best in one of his recent digressions from a lecture: "In this country, the herb business mostly revolves around recently marketed substances with new research, and it comes from them to us. Whereas we're trying to establish as much as possible (in this "lower level" if you will) the fact that we need to create a practice and a model that's impervious to faddism. We're trying to practice in a way that derives from practice rather than from marketing. Not from above to below but from below around. Bioregionalism uber alles. Keep it local. No centralization because centralization kills everything."

Herbo-primitivism

So we need another way of looking at our bodies and the plant medicines. Seeing the two as interconnected and in balance is new to industrial culture, but in reality it is the most ancient healing model on earth. We knew it before we were people. Animals know how to use plants to medicate themselves. Their examples surround us, from dogs eating grass to bears digging Osha roots. Probably every human society has had some way of explaining how the body works and how plant medicines work in us.


One thing all herbalists know - dogs and bears included - is that a health problem is best treated before it begins. In more primitive societies where people have the luxury of listening to their own bodies it is easy to spot an imbalance before it turns into an acute disease state. This is where herbs are most effective. They work at this sub-clinical (and therefore invisible to industrial medicine) level of "imbalances" and "deficiency" and "excess".


This old/new healing system is subtle and requires a lot of self-knowledge, or at least self-awareness. It uses intuition as a diagnostic tool. Emotion, spirituality, and environment become medicines. The spirit and environment of the plants we gather affects their healing properties, and our relationship with those plants becomes very important.
http://www.swsbm.com/HOMEPAGE/Anarcho-herbalism.html
Rufus Laggren


Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 349
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
    
    4
Leila

That looks like if falls under "lifestyle" and a person's daily "practice". Which are probably the best way to encourage, find and maintain quality in life.

Medical needs (at least a very large part of them) OTOH are basically "shit happens", DO _something_ before the magic life/health stuff all escapes or the boat sinks!

Even if I can be like the Dali Lhama living the fully realized life it won't save me from needing help from doctors a few times at least. At the moment here in the U.S those "few times" can beggar almost anybody - either fast by paying a hospital in cash or slowly by paying medical insurance, that costs almost as much as my living space, continuously. Thus this topic about noting any little edge, ideas or improvements that might help. Becoming and staying healthy is definitely the best most effective help here but I don't think that by itself it'll save the bacon from the health industry.

My thoughts have now begun to tend toward putting large assets into ownerships that are much harder for creditors (the health industry) to gut. That will give me more options, more time to consider choices. It will necessarily involve other people, likely as trustees. There are many trade-offs. It is not easy or obvious how to extend protections to everybody. Perhaps trusts would provides some answers. Perhaps the infamous entity known as the corporation might actually be of use here if formulated carefully; but I'm sure that, again, it would have to involve passing a lot of control to others.

Rufus
Jennifer Herod


Joined: Nov 13, 2013
Posts: 30
Location: Texas
    
    1
We recently joined a Medical Share CO-OP. I pay an annual membership fee $200 to help cover administrative expenses, and roughly $400/mo. to individuals who need help with their medical bills. Every dime goes directly to the individual. Later, if I need help (treatment, not "oil" changes), then money is sent by members to me.

This is a huge improvement IMHO over $2000/mo. premiums for a family of four plus deductibles and copays.

Ours is a Christian organization with certain upfront expectations, but who knows what others exist. We chose Samaritan Ministries because we have been friends with them for over a decade, and are very pleased.

Happy hunting!
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2484
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  18
Jennifer Herod wrote: We recently joined a Medical Share CO-OP. I pay an annual membership fee $200 to help cover administrative expenses, and roughly $400/mo. to individuals who need help with their medical bills. Every dime goes directly to the individual. Later, if I need help (treatment, not "oil" changes), then money is sent by members to me.

This is a huge improvement IMHO over $2000/mo. premiums for a family of four plus deductibles and copays.

Ours is a Christian organization with certain upfront expectations, but who knows what others exist. We chose Samaritan Ministries because we have been friends with them for over a decade, and are very pleased.

Happy hunting!


There are a few of these out there, and the way the ACA was written no new ones can be created (they had to already exist at some arbitrary date in history). I think they are going to have some serious struggles with the growing pains in the next few years.

The OLD way was a family INVESTED in their children and then their children took care of them in their old age. There wasn't a retirement, you worked until you couldn't physically do it and then you continued to pass on all your knowledge. It was the original Ponzi scheme--you had to have kids for it to work. But for the relatively few that didn't have a family net, the church and community could easily handle (defend the poor and fatherless). We didn't have 90% of the medical issues we do today (stress, toxins, and food related), but those that had accidents like Ernie had hard lives. That was just the risk and the odds.
Our society is so far from that model, I don't know if it could ever make it back.


http://www.treebytheseafarms.com/
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
Jennifer Herod


Joined: Nov 13, 2013
Posts: 30
Location: Texas
    
    1
I hear ya! Throwing out a floatation device, not a lifeboat. Things are.gonna get.rough medically in the next decade, and people with natural wisdom toward such are going to be valuable members indeed.
Rufus Laggren


Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 349
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
    
    4
I've just started looking at ACA plans. At the moment it appears quite an improvement on my current policy situation. Remains to be seen what it looks like after all the details are worked out, but one can hope.

> family...

Many people are sorta returning to that model with adult kids living w/their parents. My sister lived w/our mother the last 10 years of her life and 2 of 3 of her kids are living with her now. The medical costs side of the picture is more intractable, though.

> "original ponzi scheme..."

Yeah! I like that!


Rufus
 
 
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