We Need Change

A few weeks ago, I had a prostate biopsy. You can click on the blue link to see what’s involved in that. My father and my brother both had prostate cancer, so it’s something I have to be concerned with. So far so good, no cancer. Two days ago, I got a “Claims Summary” from my insurance company. I pay a lot of money every month to have this insurance. The total charges for the procedure were $7,163.40. It took twenty minutes to do this procedure and I had to drive 80 miles round trip to have it done. Twenty minutes with my Doctor costs $7,163.40.

On the Claims Summary there is an interesting column called, “Discounted Balance.” The amount in that column is $3,248.48. Beside this amount it says: “(my insurance company) negotiates discounts with doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.” The interesting thing about this is that even though my medical provider charged me $7,163.40, they knocked off $3,248.48 from the bill. Almost half. And the even more interesting thing about this is that my medical provider is still making money off this procedure. If they wern’t making money, they wouldn’t be doing it. They charged me almost twice as much as they needed to. My insurance paid. $1,747.03 leaving me with a bill for $1,501.45. If I didn’t have insurance I’d have to pay the entire $7,163.40 bill.

Have you ever gone to a “Half price” sale. The store will have big signs all over stating, 50% discount on everything! This is a great time to buy things. But the underlying meaning here is that for the rest of the year they have been charging you twice as much as they needed to. They are still making money off of the sale. They wouldn’t be giving you a 50% discount if it meant the were losing money on it. My medical provider wouldn’t knock off half my bill if they would lose money doing it. This is what capitalism does for you. Sure, it gives you the freedom to start a business and maybe do really well with it, providing the opportunities are there for you. But on the other hand it gives you the opportunity to be ripped off by other people starting businesses who want to charge outrageous prices for their services. Now this may be a controversial thing to say but here goes: Capitalism only works for the few, not for the many. And it is for this very reason that it is not sustainable. Eventually, given enough time, the system will crash.

The problem is simple enough. The lure of money is too hard to resist. If a rich person showed up at your door and handed you a million dollars for free, who would turn that down? “No thanks, my Social Security check each month is enough for me. Keep your million.” That wouldn’t happen. We may not like to admit it, but we all want more. How long can the country, or the world sustain unchecked capitalism? How long before the whole thing crashes? Do I have a solution? Not really. I don’t know that much about other systems to speak on them. But I do know this, any time you put some one in charge, in a position of authority, they need to be watched, closely. Remember the lure of money? It is only exceeded by the lure of power.

A favorite author, Douglas Addams once said this: “The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” Those who seek power are the least suited to handle it. It’s one of the reasons why I get charged twice as much on my medical bill than they need to charge.

So what are we to do? I think we all need to admit that the system we currently have in place doesn’t, for the most part, work for most of us. We need to consider this when we decide who we’re going to vote for and what we’re going to vote for. We need something new. Government needs to be re-done from the top down. It’s time for change. Most people are not comfortable with change, however. We need to get over that. For the good of us all, and the future of our country, we need change.

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