Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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.
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.