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Monday, November 08, 2010

Retiringly Sick: The Medicare Lifestle Choice?

Human Lungs Kept Alive Outside A Body -
Can we still bill Medicare?
Like an old science fiction movie where evil aliens keep captured astronauts alive for food the health system in the US keeps the old geezers alive and sick - sick so that the huge maw of US Medicare machine has some fresh meat to digest each day.

A recent study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicate that, in 2008, the U.S. spent 16 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on healthcare.  At the same time Americans between 55 and 64 years of age were between a third and a half more likely to suffer from one or more of the diseases. Americans in this age group were twice as likely to contract diabetes (12.07 percent vs. 5.88 percent), and the cancer rate was a third higher in the U.S. (9.57 percent opposed to 5.48 percent). The study appears in the current issue of the journal Demography (from the link).

The US turns out to spend about twice as much as other countries on health care per capita.  And we're a third or half as likely to be sick.  So, as a tax payer, boomer and some day supposed retiree what am I going to get for my Social Security tax dollars?  A longer and more miserable life.  More disease than other countries and more time to enjoy it.

My mom is in her eighties now and on Medicare.  All her friends are too.  I hear the stories every day:  drug addiction, wildly wrong medication doses, wacked out surgery mistakes, and all the rest.

No one, and I mean no one, does a single thing related to making these seniors more healthy - its all about billing medicare.

The Brits get it (from the link): It seems the policy priority for the U.S. should be on changing lifestyle and behavioral factors, according to the researchers. Diabetes rates are expected to climb due to the aging population and obesity pandemic in America. This means healthcare expenditures will only continue to climb and the healthcare system will undergo significant stress to keep an increasingly sick population alive.

And all we do is throw more logs onto the fire (more taxes, more bureaucracy, more nonsense) - not caring what we're getting out of the fire.

I suppose it makes some people feel good.

I call it the Medicare Lifestyle Choice.  Behave in an unhealthy manner for years, decades.  Then retire to yet more unhealthy living.  Once the good Medicare doctors find you your appointment book will be jammed with visits for every conceivable aliment: skin problems, urinary problems, obesity, cardiac problems, and on and on.

Another aspect I discovered while my father was dying of alzheimers was that everyone wants you do die cheaply - I suppose so there will be more for them.   "Oh no," they said to my mother, "don't give him that treatment, its too expensive..." It was hard for her.  Her entire life was devoted to taking care of him - where's the dignity?

Their idea was to simply stop giving him food and water.

I wouldn't do that to my dog.

Then there's getting to and from the doctor visits - supposedly treatment is available with no way to get it.  Endless prescriptions which conflict, even kill people - and no one to monitor it.

Rather than promote exercise, eating right, and taking vitamins its so much easier to simply wish for an already broken health care system to magically repair all of your ills.

Someone once told me: "Shit in one hand and wish in the other - see which one fills up first."

I believe my mother remains healthy and alive is because she avoids the medications and treatments - they always prescribe them but in the end she refuses.  Some innate self preservation instinct I guess - or maybe its the side effect brochure listing, among dry mouth and frequent urination, death.

As I've said here before:  all of this is TOTALLY INSANE.

My brother-in-law's experience with his parents says that Medicare loves you until you hit the maximum expenditure cap - then bye-bye treatment.  He was able to create astonishing results - one doctor had never seen a stage 4 colon cancer patient live so long - simply by working with basic nutrition and supplements.  No doctor he talked too understood this or even bothered to ask about what he was doing.

Apparently around the world other countries and cultures do a much better job with much less money - though they don't live as long as us they are healthier while still alive.  This gives them more life to enjoy and less ridiculous misery at the hands of "care givers".

The reason we don't need more health care is the care we are getting is not healthy.

Someone needs to stand up and say that all of the government bureaucracy is not delivering health care.  Its busy feeding itself at your expense - financially, emotionally, literally.

I have said here before I do not want to retire and nor do I want to live in the maw of the machine as it consumes me for its benefit.

We from the government, we're here to help.

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