Saturday, March 23, 2013

Burn It Down

My thoughts on the most recent attempt by the US Federal Government to control how I look after my personal health.

I embrace the wolf. Let him come and rape the sheep, driving us out to pasture somewhere else (as our current enclosure becomes a killing field for bureaucrats in middle-management and their power-hungry bosses). Let him destroy the rotten healthcare system in the US with his overbearing plans, his impossible schemes requiring infinite resources and a crystal ball showing the future in precise detail (such that he can make projections that pan out in real life, keeping his bloated bureaucracy alive and raking in the dough needed to pay for my place in his bread-line). Let Nero burn Rome down and fiddle while he blames the Jesus freaks (and maybe crucifies a few for good measure).

But as for me and my house, we will be waiting for the black market. We will be looking for doctors who provide services to patients, not bureaucracies, for prices that patients can pay (without any help from those pestilent bureaucracies, which always drive the market away from the cheap towards the expensive). We will not go the emergency room for colds. We will not get our teeth cleaned, our prescriptions filled, our kids medicated, our yearly mammograms, our "recommended" colonscopies (WTF?), or any other services that we do not absolutely need--as in, "I just cut off my arm with a chainsaw; I should probably see a surgeon before I die in the next few minutes."  That is real need, folks.

Insurance used to be something cheap the individual got so that his buddies could help him out when the chainsaw attacked. In this form, it was useful: I paid pennies to save dollars. Today, insurance is a mafia racket: I cannot say "Boo!" to a doctor in a hospital without paying $100s and $1000s to bureaucrats (who want to know all about my personal medical history, so that they can charge me more when they notice that I don't follow the diets endorsed by the USDA or the AMA, or any of these stupid organizations that claim to understand human health even when research consistently reveals their understanding to be dangerous bullshit). Screw this mess. I hope Obamacare passes. I hope it succeeds in ruining an industry that desperately needs to be ruined. It could be the forest fire that resets our ecology, allowing us to build from its ashes a healthcare industry that will actually give a damn about the health of patients (instead of looking for big bucks in taxation and "sophisticated" medical intervention, mostly pharmaceuticals, to keep paper-pushers rich at the expense of both patients and the doctors who actually care about doing their job well).


  1. Not to disagree with your main points, but I did literally have a patient who was only 28, father of two children pass away from colon cancer. One of the saddest things I have ever seen in my short life. I agree as a nutrition major and nurse that people who eat fruits and vegetables on a regular basis should be fine with their colorectal health. Colonoscopies are not recommended for most people until about age 50. For the children of my patient getting one sooner would be wiser given the family history.

    1. Feel free to disagree! Life would be boring if we all thought, lived, and died the same way. Personally, I am not inclined toward colonoscopy, even if it means that I die tomorrow (because I didn't get one). I prefer to manage my risk of dying with other strategies, strategies that I choose (rather than strategies that experts and/or well-meaning politicians pretending to be experts thrust upon me).

      It is not that I would forbid all people from doing X (smoking, getting colonoscopies, having sex, being celibate, procreating, avoiding procreation, eating, fasting, drinking, avoiding drink). I think I should be the one to decide whether or not I personally do X and how (within reason: I am not allowed to blow smoke in your face merely because I decide to smoke).

      Sometimes life will be sad. For me the only thing that makes it sadder is having my attempts to meet it co-opted by some well-meaning fascist who thinks he can take all sadness away, if only I surrender to him my autonomy as a moral agent. I am not interested in this deal, not even when the prize for giving myself up is health (as it might be in the short term, though not in the long: seeing this, I refuse to make a deal with the devil, no matter what cool tricks he shows me--puella, Catullus obdurat).

  2. I agree that life's uncertainties and inconveniences are not always addressed well by rules and regulations. It would be more ideal if people were able to vote with their money how much they wanted to know about their health and the risks they and their children face of dying early from whatever condition. If people do not want to take time to live as healthy as they can, they will be forced to live in ill health.