Sunday, March 21, 2010


I believe I'm getting lightheaded just thinking about Obamacare.

WSWS rant: The Detroit Medical Center, the largest hospital system in Michigan and the state’s largest provider of health care to the uninsured, will be sold to for-profit Vanguard Health Systems for $417 million in a deal announced March 19.

The sale follows months of negotiations between DMC executives, Detroit Mayor Bing, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano and Vanguard. As part of the agreement the city of Detroit and county and state authorities are pledging to create a “renaissance zone” that will free Vanguard from virtually all taxes.

The sale of DMC is part of a national drive to subordinate every aspect of health care to the demands of private profit. It will inevitably mean that the health care safety net, already severely strained by a huge increase in the number of uninsured, will be further eroded.

The move is also part of Bing’s campaign to privatize city services and downsize and depopulate broad sections of the city. Detroit Medical Center has long served as a place of last resort for those without medical insurance. Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide a certain minimum of uncompensated care and other benefits to the local communities they serve to maintain tax-exempt status. Vanguard says it will invest $850 million in capital improvements over the next five years at DMC hospitals. DMC Board Chair Steve D’Arcy called the deal, “the largest single private investment in the city’s history.” He said the conversion to a for-profit model would allow the DMC to compete with suburban hospitals.

----- And on and on about the horrors of for-profit hospitals versus nonprofit. Honestly, I haven't seen any real difference between the two. The goal of both is to profit at the federal trough. Here's a tidbit article that mentions the CEO of Vanguard, Charles Martin, Jr., in a moment of healthcare history.

Vanguard's purchase of Detroit's hospital system tells me that initially the government is going to input a massive amount of money into existing hospitals. Vanguard and others are buying up too much for there not to be a windfall in the near future. The prospects of federal dollars for healthcare overhaul is also why the Catholic Hospitals have rallied behind Obamacare. Ka-ching. Catholic hospitals and healthcare deliverers receive federal money through Medicaid, Medicare, and grants, i.e. Fidelis Care, "... the largest government programs-based health insurance company in New York State."

Not that there's anything particularly wrong in providing profit or nonprofit medical services - but post-Obamacare there will be less coverage for more people, as the bill will eventually cut what it pays to providers - cost savings, etc. This is when movers and shakers will look for new areas to invest in. Perhaps we will see a revival in mental asylums as the 2010 mental health budget is extremely "enhanced." Of course, the programs long in use are not working so the cost savings will come from institutionalizing versus the current handholding and mentoring. Maybe a good thing - wouldn't most folks, faced with the choice of the lunatic asylum or getting their sh*t together, cure themselves?

Maybe we will see a lot of junk medicine disappear, as it should.

For instance, a large part of the PT (physical therapy) field. You might be surprised to know that the bulk of the PT industry is not rehab for traumatic injuries or events - it's for treating such bogus things as bowel and bladder hygiene and dyspareunia (painful intercourse).

I know a dozen physical therapists who's specialties are working with 5-12 year old children who still regularly urinate and defecate on themselves. No physical or congenital cause for their ailment, they're just still messing their pants and beds. All of this therapy is government paid. If you haven't potty trained your kid by that age then something is wrong with you and your home - call the department of child welfare, not a doctor. A couple of the therapists are women's specialists. They use dilators and vibrators on the patient and give them a detailed home program, to cure painful intercourse. Excuse me, but why should I pay to teach you how to masturbate and perform a Kegel contraction.

Another couple of fields that have sprung up around junk medicine, and may peter out with budget cuts, are sleep apnea and pain management. The sleep apnea industry mainly serves those so overweight or obese that their own weight depresses lung function. The "cure" is an uncomfortable CPAP machine and mask device, which most patients take home and don't wear - easier to sleep sitting up. For apnea suffers who are not overweight, the apnea/insomnia stems from poor sleep hygiene, i.e. sleeping past noon and up half the night, not enough physical activity, sinus clogging diets, too many uppers and not enough downers in the medicine cabinet, guilty conscience.

Pain management, often associated with spine clinics. Junk diagnosis that work are fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndrome (affecting 86 million Americans), migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome (discovered in the '80s among the cocaine yuppies), TMJ (jaw pain), and of course the eternal excuse of menstruation. According to WebMD chronic pain can occur without a known cause.

But again, why should I have to pay for Bubba and Peggy Sue's lifetime of pain pills? Because their OxyContin or Percocet runs $200-400 for 20 tablets. Unless they're reselling them which can run $40 a pill on the street (according to my hillbilly sources).

Females seem to have more anatomical problems than men. Dysfunctional uterine bleeding, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, PMS, dysphoria, on and on. Usually requiring at least a D&C with years of on and off treatment until the coveted hysterectomy. My brother has a crude way of describing this phenomena, and it does explain the cause of most women's plumbing problems. He calls it Dirty-&nasty-Cock.

Unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion that Obama's grand new deal will not overhaul healthcare in any of the areas it should - for the simple fact that it is more feasible and profitable, politically and socially, to keep folks doped, dumbed, and messing on themselves.

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