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The “health care industry” owns you, body and soul.  The irrefutable fact that health care insurance is mandatory in the United States proves the “industry” owns your body.  The idea that it owns your soul, too, requires a deeper look.

 

The “soul” is hard to define, and there are those who claim it doesn’t exist.  Various religions have their own conceptions of what the “soul” is.  For the purposes of this article, I will keep things simple by claiming the soul in this physical life is affiliated with mind, the ineffable generator and receiver of thoughts and ideas, the vast processing unit some people assume is in the brain.

 

The health care industry’s claim on your mind, and the mass mind, can be evidenced in multiple ways, most specifically in the mass belief that health care on a grand scale is necessary.  Television, with its ability to influence millions through covert and overt mental manipulation, works to consolidate and perpetuate the belief that you need doctors to look for and treat problems you didn’t know you had, to “educate” you about warning signs of potentially life-threatening conditions.  Media warns about “bad” foods, and signs of cancer and other terrifying diseases, all broadcast with the stated intent of helping you live a healthier life.  It promotes a philosophy that the “health care industry” works to serve you, when, in fact, the “health care industry” works to manufacture and promote disease by undermining your confidence in yourself and your body’s natural tendency toward healthy homeostasis.  It sells health care the way it sells cosmetics, by leading you to doubt your own beauty and your own body, enough to buy the product that will make you feel better about yourself. 

 

The new “normal” for blood pressure has dropped from 120/80.  The new normal for cholesterol has dropped from 200.  No one mentions these are only numbers, and blood pressure fluctuates naturally during the course of the day, depending on activity and stress.  More people are depressed, we are told, and better pills for dealing with uncomfortable emotions are coming down the pike every day.  Never mind that TV itself is depressing and probably raises blood pressure. 

 

Fact is, the body, which is well adapted for handling specific threats, is confused by more generalized, non-immediate, ones, like those generated by the mind, its imaginings, and the information the mind feeds to the body.  Worry is a bad habit that creates constant stress, keeping the body on the alert for ill defined dangers.  A perpetual state of hyper-arousal takes its toll on the body.  Worry is only one manifestation of fear, a chronic condition in our society, not only perpetuated through media but alive and pulsating on the streets, in traffic, in grocery stores and shopping centers.  People have short tempers, are quick on the trigger, and always afraid the other guy with a short fuse has a real gun that can do real damage in real life.  We live in a violent world.  Just watch TV to learn that version of the truth.  We have real reasons to be afraid, and we tell our bodies that, despite the lack of immediate danger. 

 

So what does this have to do with the health care industry owning our minds?  Well, the idea that we absorb all this crap as if it were gospel, without the exposure to alternatives to determine how much is true and how much is propaganda, for the purpose of selling “health care.”  The illusion that there is “care” in the “health care industry” ultimately leads to a sense of having been betrayed, because the “care” was siphoned off a long time ago.  The system itself is greedily vampiristic, the parasites feeding off the host, bleeding and treating them ultimately to death, one life at a time.

 

Of course there are exceptions, and there are the medical heroes, those who have not lost the ability to care.  These are the doctors, nurses, and other “providers” patients are lucky to have.  But even the best of them are stretched thin and on the verge of burnout with the excessive demands of the system itself. 

 

There are alternatives to the one-size-fits-none proposition offered by the “health care industry,” but you won’t hear about them on television.  You might hear from those who have personally benefited from alternatives like acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, herbal therapies, or folk remedies, just to name a few.  Ayurvedic medicine, but these are not likely covered by your mandatory insurance, so you would have to pay out-of-pocket. 

 

But hey, it’s the price you pay for freedom.

Comments

George N Romey Added Dec 13, 2017 - 2:20pm
Good article. Stay away from the healthcare industry. It’s blood sucking vampires out to hook you on Pharma.
Dino Manalis Added Dec 13, 2017 - 3:02pm
We all need the best health possible, while we should try to avoid the health care industry as much as possible, we all need health insurance, because the costs are astronomical.  The individual mandate has to be organized like Medicare drug coverage to allow people to choose which insurance they prefer, while we ought to reduce provider expenses by importing foreign prescription drugs and patent reform; cap medical malpractice compensation; streamline insurance bureaucracy and paperwork; and allow primary care in nurse-led clinics, pharmacies and other stores.
Even A Broken Clock Added Dec 13, 2017 - 5:01pm
Katharine, the biggest change that I've seen in health care was when pharmaceutical companies were allowed to advertise directly to consumers. I still remember when only over-the-counter medications were advertised (Take Sominex tonight and sleep. Safe and restful sleep, sleep, sleep). Now you cannot avoid hearing about all of the various ailments that can afflict you, along with the newest non-generic product that is guaranteed to solve your problem*.  Advertising's purpose is to drive demand, and apparently the ubiquitous advertising is doing its job, with the spending for pharmaceuticals greatly exceeding even the rest of medical spending inflation.
 
* May cause excessive stress due to the need to pay an exorbitant price for the newest drug. Although rare, this stress may lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks and death. But your toenails won't have that pesky fungus when they lay you in the coffin.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 13, 2017 - 5:42pm
George,
Yes.  It's like any other industry, driven by profits.  Of course, the easiest way to maximize profits is to cut services, which is why insurance companies hire teams to deny claims, or to cut payments for the most heavily utilized services.  Alas.  One would think health care would have more integrity.  People have a "right" to expect it, but as we all know, rights are negotiable.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 13, 2017 - 5:46pm
Dino,
Insurance is the biggest driver of costs.  Remove the insurance mandates and expectations, and you will find health care in this country isn't as expensive as we are led to believe, at least not for the routine problems.  Lack of access to doctors, because of insurance, is a big reason so many people end up in emergency rooms for routine care.  Other of your ideas have merit, but they are impractical in the current insurance-driven environment.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 13, 2017 - 5:58pm
Clock,
You are right about the direct-to-consumer advertising.  I've read statistics about how pharmaceutical company advertising budgets shot up when it the practice was approved by the FDA in the 1990s.  You think pharma spends on R&D?  Haha.  It spends on copy-cat drugs it can patent after their big sellers go off patent.  Lipitor is a notable example, and it's even questionable whether statins do more good than harm. 
 
The anti-depressant market is saturated with ever newer patents for only slight variations on now generic drugs, like Prozac.  It's questionable whether anti-depressants really work over the long term, and there's more and more evidence that they don't really work in children.  The problems that caused the depression don't get resolved with pills.
 
A big problem with DTC advertising is it puts doctors in the position of being pressured to prescribe expensive, unproven drugs.  The doctor takes the hit if they don't work or if they cause bad side effects or interact with the medicine cabinet full of other drugs people take.  Many people are already on eight to ten prescribed medications a day, and nobody can possibly keep track of all the possible interactions and other unintended consequences.
George N Romey Added Dec 13, 2017 - 6:24pm
We have commercials telling us about diseases that most of us never heard of. Then all the pills to get a bonor. Really at age 60 just find a good book to read.
A. Jones Added Dec 13, 2017 - 8:39pm
A big problem with DTC advertising is it puts doctors in the position of being pressured to prescribe expensive, unproven drugs.
 
Good. Patients are no longer passive recipients of whatever the physician claims is best for them. They can (and do) ask, "Well, but what that new drug I saw advertised on television? Wouldn't that work even better than the 25 year old drug you've just prescribed?" as well as, "I read an article on the Mayo Clinic.com site yesterday that claims the drug you've just prescribed for me is no better than placebo. Is this just a palliative you're giving me?"
 
And if the physician resents those kinds of questions, then the patient ought to see a doctor who doesn't resent being pressured to answer questions.
Spartacus Added Dec 13, 2017 - 10:56pm
Very nice article Katharine.  You inspired me to write one of my own.  Revolutionizing Medicine Today.
Would appreciate your opinion.
Bill H. Added Dec 13, 2017 - 11:36pm
 
Soon there will be a commercial on the death row inmate's TV that goes something like this: Looking for the most comfortable and soothing way to take that inevitable journey? Ask your executioner if Deathovia is right for you. Deathovia is recommended by 4 out of 5 executioners for patients who want to pass on quickly and painlessy.
Warning - Deathovia is not for all doomed prisoners. It can fail on occasion to cause total death and result in permanent brain damage or blindness. It is not recommended for ex heroine addicts or cokeheads.
You should not use Deathovia if your sentence is being appealed or reconsidered.
If you cannot afford Deathovia, Fung Pharmaceuticals may provide special pricing.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Dec 14, 2017 - 3:55am
Yet more proof granddad was right about always remembering doctors are just practicing.
wsucram15 Added Dec 14, 2017 - 8:21am
I like the last paragraph and since now I have to pay out of pocket its alright and my preference.
Here is the deal for people who think the people on PPACA or "subsidies" have it sooooo great.
My supplemental for some unknown reason failed to auto deduct my premium payment.  It looked as though they did on my bank statement.  It was a deduction for something else.
Without any prior explanation, they cancelled my policy.
So on medicare, you really do need a supplemental..if you have any pre-existing medical conditions after the first 6 months, they wont take you or you will pay very high premiums.
How high you ask? hmmm..
They start at 573.00 per month with a 6200.00 deductible and go up from there.  Those are the ones that pay 20% of your coverage.
 
Yeah.
On a fixed income, like 155 million people have, that is more than they get in a month...
The insurance, medical and pharmaceutical industries own Washington, DC., there will never be cures, just more people paying ridiculous bills until they die.
George N Romey Added Dec 14, 2017 - 10:20am
I'm 58 and haven't been to a doctor in 25 years or more. I know that if I walked into a doctor's office tomorrow I'd be put on more expensive medicine and supposedly treatment/tests than I ever could afford.  Its a system designed to hook and bleed you financially and then toss you aside.
A. Jones Added Dec 14, 2017 - 5:07pm
I'd be put on more expensive medicine
 
What meds are you on now?
Katharine Otto Added Dec 14, 2017 - 5:39pm
George,
Count yourself lucky, although in a sane world, you would be considered average--that is, no major medical problems.  
Katharine Otto Added Dec 14, 2017 - 5:46pm
A. Jones,
Nothing wrong with people asking for new, unproven drugs, but the promises of advertising often lead to disappointment.  
 
As far as patients being passive recipients, that has been going on far too long, as many, if not most, patients don't know or want to know much about their bodies and medications.  Like children, they want to put the responsibility for their care in their doctors' hands.  This has been fostered by the insurance industry and doctor collusion, which keeps patients out of the loop regarding treatment and payments.  
 
If patients are taking more responsibility, great, even if they are prompted by advertising.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 14, 2017 - 5:48pm
William,
Will do.  The more people jump on this topic, the better.  The "health care industry" affects everyone, and not in a healthy way.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 14, 2017 - 5:50pm
Bill H.,
Funny but sad.  You don't have to be a prisoner.  Now "physician assisted suicide" is legal in places like Oregon and Washington state, and Medicaid even pays for it.  Five bucks worth of phenobarbital will put your lights out forever.  
Katharine Otto Added Dec 14, 2017 - 5:51pm
Jeanne,
Thanks for your personal account.  You have been in the system a long time and have learned about how beneficial alternatives can be.  I hope one day you will post a blog about your own experiences.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 14, 2017 - 5:57pm
Jeffry,
Yes, grandad was right.  People put way too much faith in doctors then feel betrayed when things don't work out as expected.  Doctors presume to know way more than they know, but they are part of a very narrow minded culture that is contemptuous of everything not taught in medical school.  For instance, doctors get almost no nutrition education in medical school.  Nurses are more knowledgeable about nutrition.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 14, 2017 - 5:59pm
Jeanne,
It is a crazy system, indeed.  You're spot on in talking about the unaffordable costs of insurance for those on fixed incomes.  Not only that, people spend so much time figuring out the best deal on insurance plans that they have no time left over for living their lives.
A. Jones Added Dec 14, 2017 - 6:21pm
but the promises of advertising often lead to disappointment.  
 
So do the promises of physicians. Or priests. Or parents. Or teachers. Or spouses. No reason to single out advertisers.
 
In fact, consumers are somewhat protected from false or misleading advertising promises by ordinary fraud laws; spouses, alas, are not ("But you said you'd love me and care for me till death do us part! Were you lying?").
Shane Laing Added Dec 14, 2017 - 8:53pm
It all comes down to money and profit margins.  Pharmas are just after cash and if they can convince people they have the medicine to treat their ills its better for the bottom line.  Note their I said treat not cure. A cure looses money a treatment is steady cash.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 15, 2017 - 9:25pm
Katherine Otto sez: which is why insurance companies hire teams to deny claims, or to cut payments for the most heavily utilized services.-Yup.  Premara/Blue cross is HQ'd a few block from where my wife works.  This arm of the Medical/Industrial complex has landscapers working 7 days a week, and have hired 100s of workers from India, the most valued being former members of the Indian Civil Service (ICS) where the answer to everytrhing is "No."
Jeff Michka Added Dec 15, 2017 - 9:33pm
Katherine Otto also sez: Now "physician assisted suicide" is legal in places like Oregon and Washington state, and Medicaid even pays for it.  Five bucks worth of phenobarbital will put your lights out forever.-Well, considering Dr. MEDICAL/INDUSTRY "RESPONSE" TO THE OPIOID CRISIS IS NOT Prescribing them, even to terminally ill cancer patients in extreme pain.  Guess the cancer patients need to die "clean."  They also need to bear the social responsibility by suffering.  I'm sure that will "cure" a bunch of coal miners by keeping them from shooting up out of guilt.  Right.  Seems the medical community can't deal with pain issues period.  From not prescribing anything, to over prescribing.  Nary the twain shall meet, eh?
Jeff Michka Added Dec 15, 2017 - 9:38pm
Geo Romey laments: Really at age 60 just find a good book to read.-I guess that shouldn't be a surprise coming from you.  Reading a book as opposed to carrying on a reasonable sex life with a life partner is kinda like doing nothing, so it's "100% Geo." "Surrender, it is USELESS," cries Geo R.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 16, 2017 - 11:22am
A Jones,
I don't believe in promises, for the reasons you mention, but other people do.  In other contexts, promises are the same as threats.  
Katharine Otto Added Dec 16, 2017 - 11:26am
Shane,
Yes, it's all about profits, but the public is sold a bill of goods and is gullible enough to believe pharma does more good than harm.  Maybe sometimes it does, but the most valuable medications, like insulin, have been around a long time and are generally generic.  Trouble is, there are fewer pharmaceutical companies manufacturing generics because the profits are so slim.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 16, 2017 - 11:36am
Jeff,
Yep, that's how the "health care industry" really works.  It's profitable for insurance to say no whenever possible. 
 
The "opioid crisis" is a different can of worms.  In the first place, two of the four drugs approved by the FDA for treating opioid addiction are also opiates, so the hypocrisy of that manufactured crisis is apparent.  And doctors who prescribe opioids are coming under closer and closer scrutiny by the DEA, scaring them into not prescribing appropriately for pain.  
 
Pain is one of the most common complaints people have, if not the most common, and there are no good treatments.  Opioids are the best we have, and they have been around thousands of years.  Even they don't work over the long term. 
 
I believe the problems with addiction are partially because of drug laws, which make opiates more valuable on the black market, commodity money for those who have no other sources of income.  Many dealers are not users but are in it for the money.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Dec 17, 2017 - 9:05am
The idea of the free market is that it should lead to the best deal for consumers.
 
However, this does not work in health care.   The consumer, on his own, is seldom in a strong position.  He cannot, in most cases, make well informed decisions.   He is also likely to be frightened and keen for anything that holds out the hope of a swift recovery.  And, as a small customer, unless subject to a large insurance company's buying power, is liable to pay top dollar.   And at every step, the process of buying individual tests, procedures and drugs adds cost and delay.
 
Most other developed countries have moved to a single payer system.
 
The UK does this through tax payer funding of a health service.   There is only one main customer, so health service suppliers have to give a good deal.  The bureaucracy of tracing every individual procedure and medicine back through the system for billing purposes also disappears.   And there is an incentive on the NHS to minimise the need for critical care and therefore invest in primary care to improve overall health.
 
The net result in the UK versus USA overall figures is somewhere in the range of 2-3 years extra life expectancy for roughly 50% of the cost per capita.
 
I guess that the real reason that the USA has never moved to this model is because the health industry makes so much money out of the status quo that it invests a lot of its surplus cash in lobbying to keep things the way that they are.  That and maybe the national allergy against anything resembling co-operative action at society level for the good of all. 
 
Rather die as a red toothed capitalist than live as a pinko socialist I guess.
 
 
Katharine Otto Added Dec 17, 2017 - 9:15am
Robin,
Thanks for your comment, but I hear the NHS is falling apart, unsustainable as it is.  And, I've never figured out what a single payer is.  Is it also insurance?  In any case, it is a monopoly so not incentivized to maximize efficiency or care.  
 
My preference is to de-centralize medical care.  With Congress practicing medicine, individuals can't hope to get a fair deal.  Medical care is a highly individualized thing, not one that should be a political football.
 
But that's just me.  I'm not likely to get my way anytime soon, even though it would benefit the patients to have more individual control over their care.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Dec 17, 2017 - 9:27am
The NHS is not falling apart.   It is simply being under funded by the current Government which is ideologically opposed to state provided medicine (or anything else).  The right wing media, especially the appalling Daily Mail, also does it's best to foster that idea.
 
However the Tories have always harked back to the past when their "class" was in control of all of us plebs.   Pre 1948 we were like you.  We had to pay for health care and education individually.   World War 2 changed all that and now the NHS is the most popular thing about the state for most Britons.
 
Magaret Thatcher did her best to try and dismantle it.   However for any Government to actually do that, or even openly threaten it, would be election suicide.
 
The NHS is that rare thing.   A true national treasure.   And a source of true "greatness"; if there is such a thing.   But we do have to fight against the vested interests of the rich and powerful who would, if they could, take it away from us.
 
A monopoly does, as well as economies of scale, it is true, have built in inefficiencies.   However in the NHS case this is balanced, in my experience, by the dedication of staff who see their vocation as making people's lives better rather than the maximisation of profit figures.   Certainly our experience, in recent years for ourselves, family and friends, has been one of first class care together with genuine concern for well being.
 
Like many others I say "Good Bless the NHS".   It's not a corporation.  It's ours.  We're proud of it and will not part with it.  Period.
 
 
Jeff Michka Added Dec 17, 2017 - 4:03pm
Katherine Otto sez: I believe the problems with addiction are partially because of drug laws, which make opiates more valuable on the black market, commodity money for those who have no other sources of income.-Oddly there was a very small discussion about drug laws and alternative pharmacology here before it got ended in a series of hurled Nazi insults.  We lost "the War on Drugs" decades ago, and the status quo doesn't allow for rationale alternatives.  Lawmakers, mostly local, turn themselves inside out over trying to make sure a school is 1000 ft away from a legal pot shop. 1000ft from a church, etc.  I guess at 999ft near a school. All the kids immediately start shooting heroin. Silly stuff, but there's reality for you.
A. Jones Added Dec 17, 2017 - 9:04pm
The NHS is that rare thing.   A true national treasure. 
 
If it's such a treasure, why is it always broke?
 
And why are its standards of care so low?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Dec 18, 2017 - 2:30am
A Jones:   
 
The Conservative Party, just like your Republican party, is really a party that seeks to promote and preserve the wealth and benefits of the wealthy.   So they constantly seek to attack and under fund the NHS and other publicly held and fun organisations.
 
Most people in the UK, when asked directly, would be prepared to pay higher tax to provide better funding for the NHS.   We must, as a people, fight for it and support it in every way we can.   We don't want to become like the USA and be exploited as badly as you all are.  We also like living longer than you do.
 
The standards of care are not low.   In our personal experience, over the last couple of years, they have been very high indeed.   My father in law, currently living in a very expensive private nursing home ($6000 per month) asked if he could go back to the hospital because "they took so much better care of him there"
 
The right wing establishment, and the medical industry lobby, does not want you to hear good news stories about the NHS lest the USA adopts a similar approach and derails their gravy train.
A. Jones Added Dec 18, 2017 - 3:27am
The standards of care are not low.
 
"The British people — whether as a result of different life philosophy or generally lower level of affluence — have a much lower level of expectation from medical intervention in general [compared to Americans]. In fact, they verge on the stoical as compared with the American patient, and, of course, this fact makes them, purely from a physician's point of view, the most pleasant patients. The resulting service [provided by the NHS] has evolved over the years into a service that would in my opinion be all but totally unacceptable to any American not depending on welfare for medical services."
 
— Dr. Dermot B. O'Brien
Irish physician from Dublin Medical School
who has worked in both the U.S. and the UK.
From The New England Journal of Medicine
 
It's understandable that people with lowered expectations of medical services wouldn't find the standards of those services to be low. However, they are objectively low when compared with other, non-single-payer systems, such as that in the U.S. Patient outcomes in all categories — cancer care, heart disease, care, orthopedic surgical care, therapies using innovative new drugs — are significantly higher in the U.S. than they are in the UK.
 
Britons have simply lowered their expectations and resigned themselves to the lower quality. They might not see the lowered quality from their perspective but it's there, and it's measurable.
A. Jones Added Dec 18, 2017 - 3:40am
they constantly seek to attack and under fund the NHS 
 
Under fund? So give me an exact number that would fully fund the NHS. The number can be in pounds or it can be expressed a percentage of the UK's GDP, but cite a hard number; not a bullshit, weasel phrase like "adequately funded." (Psssst. Here's a clue: the MORE tax money you siphon away from GDP and pump into the NHS, the MORE the NHS will appear to be "under funded" because the MORE you try to offer "free" service to people, the MORE people take advantage of your offer, and funding can NEVER keep up with demand. That was predicted by economists in 1948 when the system was implemented by the Attlee administration, and it has been the situation ever since then. Look up the phrase "Moral Hazard" online and apply it to healthcare.)
 
Most people in the UK, when asked directly, would be prepared to pay higher tax to provide better funding for the NHS.
 
They're prepared to pay higher taxes for the NHS? Then it's not "free" care. And if they're prepared to pay higher taxes for the NHS, why wouldn't they be just as prepared simply to spend that money on private medical care within a competitive private system?
 
Here's the answer:
 
Because they want to fool themselves into believing they're getting a free goodie as their "right" even if they're paying high taxes for it.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Dec 18, 2017 - 4:28am
Yes, you are believing the anti NHS propaganda.   There is no doubt that the wealthy want to see an end to it. 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Dec 18, 2017 - 4:30am
And no, it is not free.  We pay via taxes.   But, on average, we pay half as much for it than Americans do through their multi payer system.   And we live two to three years longer.  That difference is not only accounted for by your insane addiction to guns and Mc Donalds...
A. Jones Added Dec 18, 2017 - 5:34am
But, on average, we pay half as much for it than Americans do
 
!!!!!!
 
Huh??? That's not a good thing. You should be paying more. You just wrote above that the NHS is "under funded"!!!! So obviously, it's no great achievement to claim that you're paying less than Americans!!! Guess what? U.S. healthcare is not "under funded".
 
Try to pay attention to what you've written, post-to-post, OK?
A. Jones Added Dec 18, 2017 - 5:36am
you are believing the anti NHS propaganda.
 
And you are believing the pro-NHS propaganda. Most of it published by the NHS itself, as well as the UK in general. 
A. Jones Added Dec 18, 2017 - 6:14am
When government collects taxes in order to offer some kind of service or good for "free", the demand for that service or good skyrockets and will always outstrip the tax revenues available to pay for the available supply. This is a general rule in economics and applies to any service or good: food, gasoline, education, housing, insurance, medical care, etc. 
 
The way government tries to correct this inevitable mismatch between supply and demand is always the same: rationing. Some system of parceling out the available limited supply to a skyrocketing demand is implemented by law. The effect of rationing is always the same, too: the price of the service or good vastly increases, not in terms of money but in terms of increased waiting time to access the service, and often decreased quality of the service or good itself.
 
Example of rationing by the NHS:
 
"British Government Hospitals To Bar Smokers & Overweight Patients From Surgery, Due To Budget Constraints"
 
"A subsidiary of the government-run British National Health Service has decided to bar obese patients and smokers from undgergoing hip and knee operations. 'I think we are going to see more and more decisions like this,' said Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers target="_blank">told The Telegraph. “It’s the only way providers are going to be able to balance their books.”
 
In North Yorkshire, England, hospital leaders have decided to cut back by denying hip and knee surgeries to smokers who refuse to quit, and those with target="_blank">Body Mass Indices above 30. (If you’re 5’10”, a BMI of 30 is 209 pounds; if you’re 5’5”, it’s 180 pounds.)
 
'Major surgery poses much higher risks for severely overweight patients who smoke,' said an NHS England spokesman. 'So local [providers] are entirely right to ensure these patients first get support to lose weight and try and stop smoking before their hip or knee operation.' The change 'saves the NHS and taxpayers millions of pounds.'"
 
Aw, you poor, fat, smoker! Boo hoo! You're 68 years old and fell and broke your hip? And you say you're in excruciating pain and would like a free hip replacement just as the NHS promised you? Too bad. We no longer treat fat smokers. Take some Tramadol for a year or two and come back when you've lost 100 pounds and can prove to us you've been on the patch. Good-bye, and don't let the door bang you in the ass when you leave. Next patient!"
 
So kind. So humane. I'm glad I never believed any of that anti-NHS propaganda.
 
That's one example of rationing in a socialized system (one of many examples).
 
Here are some examples of lowered quality (from the same article linked above):
 

NHS doctors target="_blank">routinely conceal from patients information about innovative new therapies that the NHS doesn’t pay for, so as to not “target="_blank">distress, upset or confuse” them.



Terminally ill patients are target="_blank">incorrectly classified as “close to death” so as to allow the withdrawal of expensive life support.



NHS expert guidelines on the management of high cholesterol are target="_blank">intentionally out of date, putting patients at serious risk, in order to save money.



When the government approved an innovative new treatment for elderly blindness, the NHS initially decided to reimburse for the treatment only after patients were target="_blank">already blind in one eye — using the logic that a person blind in one eye can still see, and is therefore not that badly off.



While most NHS patients expect to wait five months for a hip operation or knee surgery, leaving them immobile and disabled in the meantime, the target="_blank">actual waiting times are even worse: 11 months for hips an
A. Jones Added Dec 18, 2017 - 6:17am

(continued from above)

While most NHS patients expect to wait five months for a hip operation or knee surgery, leaving them immobile and disabled in the meantime, the target="_blank">actual waiting times are even worse: 11 months for hips and 12 months for knees. (This compares to a wait of 3 to 4 weeks for such procedures in the United States.)



target="_blank">One in four Britons with cancer is denied treatment with the latest drugs proven to extend life. [Newer cancer drugs — most of which are invented by American bio-tech startups — are simply too expensive to buy with British tax revenues]



Those who seek to pay for such drugs on their own are target="_blank">expelled from the NHS system, for making the government look bad, and are forced to pay for the entirety of their own care for the rest of their lives.



Britons diagnosed with cancer or heart attacks are target="_blank">more likely to die, and more quickly, than those of most other developed nations. Britain’s survival rates for these diseases are “little better than [those] of former Communist countries.” [But that all works out for the best because the British have lowered their expectations regarding the quality of medical intervention]

 
The NHS doesn't sound like a "national treasure" to me or to most Americans. The only thing it has in common with a treasure is that it deserves to be buried.
wsucram15 Added Dec 18, 2017 - 2:35pm
Katharine-
Here is what speaking up and protesting does, from the womans march forward-
Best damn thing I read all year...this will teach men to underestimate women.
Its not done yet..
http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/
The person of the year-the silence breakers. 
Have a good day.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 18, 2017 - 6:13pm
wsucram15 notes: Best damn thing I read all year...this will teach men to underestimate women. Its not done yet...-Was a good article in Time, and they did deserve the cover.  I'm waiting for the Orange smear to fire Mueller...to the streets, folks.  For Geo R it will be taking to "the comfy chair."  Speaking up and protesting are never a bad thing.  Sadly I doubt the Time article will change the minds of WB's cadre of women haters.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 18, 2017 - 6:43pm
A. Jones,
I just learned more than I ever knew about the NHS.  Of course Medicare rations health care, too.  
 
I don't happen to be a fan of hip and knee replacements and think they are over-done.  Of course other people believe this medical overkill is a sign of progress.  
Katharine Otto Added Dec 18, 2017 - 7:23pm
Jeanne,
I read that long, long article and am glad women are speaking up in such great numbers.  The time is right.  Before now, women would have been scorned or ridiculed, even by--and maybe especially by--other women.  To see such mutual support is gratifying.
 
However, I can't help but think that all those sexual predators out there were probably raised by mothers who taught them to disrespect women.  
A. Jones Added Dec 18, 2017 - 8:35pm
don't happen to be a fan of hip and knee replacements and think they are over-done.
 
Weird statement.
 
The seniors who opt for these procedures and are helped by them don't think they're "over-done."
 
Wait until you're 80 years old and suffer a hip fracture or a hip break from a fall. You'd rather spend the rest of your years in pain sitting in a wheelchair? I don't think so. You'll opt for a hip replacement or an ORIF procedure (Open Reduction Internal Fixation).
 
Of course other people believe this medical overkill is a sign of progress.
 
Question: Are you calling these procedures "overkill" because you're not Board Certified and don't have any surgical training? Just wondering.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 18, 2017 - 9:12pm
My "favorite" DTC stuff was a pill for what was called "restless leg syndrome.  The back announcer is telling everyone about side effects, and the side effects were an urge to gamble, screw, drink and engage in what some might call other "bad behavior", but...Got a feeling there were a lot of restless legs being reported to doctors with patients hoping for side effects.  The spots stopped after a year or so on air. "Yeah, doc, can't stop my legs...Need some of that medicine..."  Wasn't "I can't stop my leg" a Richard Kline routine?
A. Jones Added Dec 18, 2017 - 9:52pm
Craigslist classified:
 
"Guy on meds for restless leg syndrome looking for hot woman with same. Reply with picture."
George N Romey Added Dec 19, 2017 - 8:37am
If Time wants to put women as Person of the Year then put women like my Aunt Dorothy that died a couple weeks ago at age 92. Widowed at age 35 she eventually talked her way into a phone operator job working shift work. She rose to an Executive Vice President retiring with millions in AT&T stock. Awhile raising and putting 3 kids through college. And  never once did I ever hear her complain about the shit sandwich she was served in life.
 
To the single mothers like her where is their Time Person of the Year Award. This is about selling magazines in a irrelevant industry desperate for revenue.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 19, 2017 - 2:45pm
Geo Romey tries: This is about selling magazines in a irrelevant industry desperate for revenue-Why not write a nostalgia holiday pice about that single mom you throw around, being saved byyour great Aunt and a cadre of African-American Jews during WWII or the 70s.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 21, 2017 - 11:00am
A. Jones,
Hip and knee replacements are among the most invasive surgeries performed, as surgeons are dealing with bones, where microbes are hard to access with antibiotics.  That's why the surgeons dress up in space suits to do the work.  Complications from the surgeries are enormous.  A friend of mine suffered a stroke on the operating table.  Since elderly people are the ones most operated on, and most vulnerable to complications, it makes these surgeries especially dangerous.
 
Maybe if I have a debilitating hip fracture, I will change my mind, but this is not your usual scenario.  Most are done for arthritic problems, some of which could be alleviated by alternative means, including gentle exercises and losing weight.  People are too quick to chose the surgical alternative.
 
You'd be surprised by how many hip fractures are caused by slick hospital floors, over-medication, and other preventable set-ups for accidents.  Attending to these may eliminate the need for excessive surgery.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 21, 2017 - 11:04am
George,
You are right.  Women like your aunt are the great unsung heroines whose tenacity over time insured success.  However, she would not have the same opportunities today. 
Katharine Otto Added Dec 21, 2017 - 11:05am
Jeff,
I didn't know about that ad.  Opens up a world of possibilities, doesn't it?
Jeff Michka Added Dec 21, 2017 - 11:20am
Katherine Otto notes: I didn't know about that ad.  Opens up a world of possibilities, doesn't it?On other fronts, life expectancy in the US fell for A second year in a row.  Opioid "epedemic" blamed: https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-12-21/us-life-expectancy-falls-for-second-year-in-a-row-as-opioid-deaths-rise