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Squeezing greed out of health care

As a Christian man, I simply refuse to believe that any person should benefit, financially, from the suffering of God’s children; any of God’s children.

That notion seems morally true to my Christian convictions; it seems clear, undebatable to the most honest essence of my Christian mind and Christian heart. It’s a rock-solid truth that is simply obvious to me.

As an ‘elder’ man, I understand that things obvious to me may not be obvious to others; and perhaps my thoughts are meaningless to some; however, the following words deal with the nature of an industry that began as a true and fully Christian enterprise. Yet, good ole’ greed of Biblical proportions, like Americans now experience all around us, destroyed a wonderful endeavor and complicated and unleashed a financial monster of Biblical proportions. I speak of our American health care system.

In your most honest heart answer this, “Should not all monies, required to ease the suffering from illness and death, go towards the professionals that ease the suffering or heal the ill? Why would we need a system that requires a ‘middleman;’ especially when the ‘middleman’ has an agenda that is in opposition to funding medical care?”

The entire premise is ridiculous. Once health care insurance changed into a ‘for-profit’ endeavor, everything got complicated at the expense of the customers; and we are all the customers.

Blue Cross was developed as a non-profit organization that allowed people to pool their money; and when they died in hospitals they would not have to forfeit their lives’ savings and possessions. Blue Shield basically provided general medical coverage for working families. Blue-Cross and Blue-Shield (BC/BS) were a noble non-profit conglomerate of millions of peoples that all benefited because the goal of the enterprise was to clearly and precisely do one thing, help people through the hard times of this human condition.

Fact is that this human condition usually ends with suffering; illness and suffering; and that is if we are lucky enough to live that long. In all truth, unless we die peacefully in our sleep, or somebody puts a bullet into the back of our heads, we are going to live long enough for our organs, our parts, to break and wear out; and broken parts bring pain; and pain is suffering. Think about it, even if Jim Baker’s evangelical pancake-mix heals your cancer tomorrow (the pancake mix is an actual product from the television “preacher”), you’ll still die later from something else. Very few of us get off of this planet, or out of this physical existence without a hefty dose or two of illness, grief and death; this is our condition.

Yet, no person should make financial gain from the pain and suffering of others. The Texas Baptists that began BC/BS understood that mantra. BC/BS accepted everyone; any age any physical condition with any pre-existing health problem. Most importantly, the enterprise flourished. The health care system was simple and effective and patients were receiving the best of care and hospitals were operating efficiently. Historically, it was an excellent example of a near purely socialist experiment that spread risk and accountability and everyone involved benefited. Notably, the reason that our nation’s health-care system worked so smoothly back then can be explained by five words, ‘the lack of human greed.’ Profit had no skin in the game.

We can blame the current chaos within our health care system on two words, ‘human greed.’ Our demise occurred because a couple of greedy investment bankers recognized the huge pile of money in the BC/BS coffers; they essentially attacked the noble industry with the tenacity of a typical Wall Street tyrant and developed a means to disrupt the industry and force BC/BS to share their customers and eventually either fail or change their mission to ‘profit.’

We and our loved ones suffer now more than we need when we are within this twisted and convoluted system; because a number of corporate administrators designed a means to aspirate funds from people that need assistance with their health. This is fully true and there was a time when most all people would have agreed that this ‘for-profit’ form of health care is, undoubtedly un-American; indeed immoral. Something has changed in my beloved country; there is no longer any shame associated with greed; and all of us will continue to suffer the consequences of unbridled greed as long as greed and financial wealth is blindly applauded and respected.

In 1993, insurance companies spent 95 cents of every customer-dollar on actual health care; patient care. Now, insurance companies spend less than 65 cents on actual patient care. The money from our premiums is wasted on marketing and huge administrative salaries and share-holder payouts. They make more profit when they spend a smaller percentage of our premiums on actual care; the industry calls it their ‘medical loss ratio.’ The industries ‘medical loss ratio’ has decreased nearly 30 percent in 30 years; that is wonderful for profits within the industry. For us and our loved ones those industrial profits represent monies that corporate executives chiseled out of the premiums we pay them. They are the middleman that tells our physician and pharmacist which form of treatment we are allowed and how long we are allowed to stay in a hospital. It seems quite absurd to me. Exactly what the hell are these strangers doing in your most personal, private and essential business? Especially considering that the strangers only focus is on your money. It is visibly bizarre.

Inasmuch as we will all face the Grim Reaper; whether we go gently or not so gently into that deep dark night; I believe we need an intelligent solution that brings common sense and logic back to this industry that has clearly broken away from its original mission. We must remove financial gain and human greed from health care.

This nation currently and historically has controlled and developed the largest and most professional organization in the world. An organization known for efficiency and precision based upon hard-earned principle and values; our military, our Armed Forces.

I suggest that the U.S. military serve as a model for the development of a professional administrative service that could once again allow the American health care system to operate fairly, efficiently and effectively.

I know that people love to scream socialism whenever someone proposes a federal solution to a national problem. However, these same folks never have a problem with receiving their socialist Social Security funds; nor their socialist Medicare and Medicaid support. I think we must make this change. We live in the most powerful wealthy nation in the history of the world and we all deserve access to the highest quality health care. We must squeeze the greed out of this game.