Coastal Post Online

 

DONATE TO US

SUBSCRIBE TO US

ADVERTISE WITH US

 

**** COASTALPOST'S LOGO ****

 

DONATE TO US

SUBSCRIBE TO US

ADVERTISE WITH US

 

MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

July, 2006

 

Health Care: A Logistically Logical Approach
By Stephen Simac

The War on Iraq has already cost the United States $2 trillion (when all costs are factored in) after only three years with no end in sight, unless the whole catastrophe crashes in Iran. Direct costs are $8 billion a month.
Medical care for Americans cost $3 trillion last year, $250 billion a month, (if my math is correct) without even factoring in extraneous economic costs. Medical spending in the United States has increased at nearly double the rate of inflation for decades with no end in sight.

When medical expenses collide with military spending and no more federal debt can be issued, aging boomers will then demand Peace Now! Beat that body armor into artificial hips.

Medical costs for the most selfish generation will devour the bloated budget of "Defense" like a python swallowing a troop carrier. And not look back as it squeezes every other budgetary item lifeless. Medical treatments are devised and defined by the medical establishment, often on no more evidence than the profits generated for those with influence over the decision.

Americans are mostly united on our children being forced to pay for our gargantuan military sometime in their future, and few question the behemoth of our medical albatross also being unloaded on youth's uncomplaining (so far) shoulders.

Doctors have a financial interest in increasing spending on medical treatments, not improving health. Letting the medical establishment run the show they profit from is foolish. The evidence is in the colossal costs of our medical care and Americans' abysmal health. Determining health care priorities has to be shared more widely, not so other self interested groups can get their share of the pie, but to steer it towards a more effective, economical, health creation model.

Paying for the crisis intervention we call health care is now done by individuals and their employers, either out of pocket or through medical insurance policies, and by federal and state government, funded from taxpayers.

The producers and profiteers from known causes of illness and injury get a free ride. Some egregious companies may lose lawsuits, but payments go to a few wealthy trial lawyers and a minority of victims, not the taxpayers who bear the costs for the medical care required.

Even the multibillions paid by tobacco companies went into the general funds of those states which joined class action suits against them, not into directly paying for the Medicaid bills from tobacco addiction.


A Better Way To Pay For Health Care
The most logical way to pay for health care is by taxing injurious products, processes and practices at the rates they cost the system to pay for their medical costs. If these monies don't go directly into health care funding, governments will surely find pork to spend it on, just as they did with the tobacco settlements.

These health care taxes will lessen the burden on taxpayers and reduce demand for and use of the taxed products and practices by raising their costs. Trying to ban products and practices is rarely possible, unless they are seen as an economic or social evil, like illegal drugs. Even then funds are diverted to enforcement of their prohibition rather than towards paying for any medical care attributed to them.

Even a short list of known health hazards illustrates that hundreds of billions could be raised by taxing them. With lowered demand and reduced production of these products as many billions would be saved in medical costs.


We're Fighting Them Over There To Avoid Fighting Them Here

Processed food ingredients that contribute to heart disease, diabetes, strokes, other diseases and obesity are ladled out to Americans and advertised heavily with the manufacturers rarely held to account for their victims. Instead it's blame the suckers who become obese, diabetic, cardiac and cancer patients for overindulging in known health hazards. As if it would be all right to sell poisons, as long as citizens just practiced moderation. These companies profit from the epidemic illness they cause, while taxpayers foot the bills.

Hydrogenated oils, AKA transfats, along with many other criminal aliases are artificially hardened vegetable oils. They were invented in the 30's as a cheap turkey food that wouldn't spoil, but the turkeys died. So they marketed it as a cheap butter substitute-margarine and shoveled it into thousands of processed food items for humans. The taxpayers were made the real turkey.

Transfats are far more hazardous to hearts, veins and arteries than the cholesterol laden saturated fats the medical establishment has been warning the public to avoid for decades, while pushing polyunsaturated oils and hydrogenated margarine as heart healthy. Now they're warning that transfats cause heart attack, strokes and other vascular diseases, but haven't taken any responsibility for their previous propaganda.

Attempts to ban transfats have so far been unsuccessful because of the influence of processed food industry, instead food profiteers have been asked to voluntarily reduce this poison they profit from. Some have, but since it's cheaper most haven't.

It's been known for decades that ionizing radiation has no safe level but the medical establishment is blasˇ about bombarding their patients with diagnostic radiation to detect disease, treat cancers or image what's going on inside the patient.

The military loves radioactive weapons and has been the major cause of doubling the background radiation on the planet in the last fifty years with their open air and underground nuclear bomb tests. Don't even ask about their depleted uranium radioactive fallout, it's classified.

Nuclear power plants are called "clean", although they routinely emit radioactive nucleotides into the air, water, soil and living creatures around them.

Non-ionizing radiation ranging from microwaves, radar, to radio and television frequencies has known health hazards including raising cholesterol levels, causing cellular damage, cancers and neurological problems.

The first wave of brain tumors from the cell phones people are constantly pressing against their ears are already emerging, but with a ten year lag time of cancers emerging a tsunami of head or kidney (from belt worn phones) tumors will soon inundate the medical system. Cell phone companies will claim they didn't know, but like the tobacco companies their lies will catch up to them.

Traffic accidents have killed more Americans than our wars, at least since the invention of the motor vehicle. The carnage on our highways is at a Vietnam War casualty rate every year since W.W.II. Horses and buggies weren't that safe of course, and bicycles pound for pound may be more dangerous than automobiles. Add in high speed and tons of steel with impaired, distracted or enraged drivers and more than 40,000 Americans are killed and a quarter million maimed each year. If we taxed vehicles based on top speed and weight to pay for these medical costs, we wouldn't have to force manufacturers to increase fleet mileage.

Cigarettes are the mass killer of the last century. Worse than Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, FDR and Mao combined, they're not called coffin nails for nothing. Once 9 out of 10 doctors stopped recommending cigarette brands, and the AMA stopped accepting tobacco ads for their journal, the medical establishment discovered that cigarette smoke contained carcinogenic tars. The tars and nicotine in the smoke cause emphysema, heart attacks and other illness, but the radioactive phosphate tobacco is fertilized with, then emits into smoker's lungs and around them is far more deadly.

The epidemic of lung cancers only became stratospheric after nuclear weapons began to be regularly exploded for "tests" in the 1950's and 60's. The numbers of non-smokers dying of lung cancers is soaring, conveniently blamed on "second hand smoke", while radioactive weapons, "clean" nuclear power plants, smoke alarms and other sources of radioactive pollution are ignored.

Those are merely a few of the products released into the environment and consumers that could be health taxed, raising billions for the costs of medical care. While taxing them would reduce their use the medical system would still be broken from the sheer weight of unhealthy, obese Americans and medical establishment's reliance on treating symptoms, rather preventing problems.


An Ounce Of Prevention Saves A Pound Of Cure

Public health measures that are evidence based, economical and rely on social and individual changes, rather than medical intervention are the red headed stepchild in health care funding. Measures that require doctors, medical establishments, pharmaceutical and surgical interventions are first in line, regardless of cost or effectiveness.

All the "free" medical care in the world won't change American's poor health, unless tactics are changed from crisis management to real prevention through public health measures which reduce our exposure to illness and injury causes.

American medicine is shaped by and helps shapes the national psyche. The War on Cancer, the War on Drugs and coming soon the War on Obesity are more expensive and less effective than many of our military interventions.

Slash, Burn and Irradiate. This is true of military mindset, industrial agriculture, cutthroat corporate practices as it is of orthodox cancer treatment where the patient is often sacrificed in the battle against their illness.

Prevention by reducing the known causes of illness and injury is considered to be for wimps and defeatists. Treasonous and Godless, really.

Coastal Post Home Page