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Welcome To The Third World, Part 19: Health Care Systems Break Down

The most obvious difference between “rich” and “poor” countries is that the former provide health care for most or all of their lucky citizens. At least they used to:

Obese patients and smokers banned from routine surgery in ‘most severe ever’ rationing in the UK

(Telegraph) – Obese people will be routinely refused operations across the NHS, health service bosses have warned, after one authority said it would limit procedures on an unprecedented scale.

Hospital leaders in North Yorkshire said that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above – as well as smokers – will be barred from most surgery for up to a year amid increasingly desperate measures to plug a funding black hole. The restrictions will apply to standard hip and knee operations.

The decision, described by the Royal College of Surgeons as the “most severe the modern NHS has ever seen”, led to warnings that other trusts will soon be forced to follow suit and rationing will become the norm if the current funding crisis continues.

Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers, which represents acute care, ambulance and community services, said: “I think we are going to see more and more decisions like this.

“It’s the only way providers are going to be able to balance their books, and in a way you have to applaud their honesty. You can see why they’re doing this – the service is bursting at the seams.”

The announcement is the latest in a series of setbacks for patients who are facing rolling strikes by junior doctors that threaten to cripple the health service as winter approaches.

The decision by Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) comes amid increasing limits across the NHS on surgery for cataracts as well as hip and knee operations.

Under the latest restrictions, patients in the catchment area who have a BMI of 30 or more will be barred from routine surgery for non-life-threatening conditions for a year, although they may secure a referral sooner if they shed 10 per cent of their weight.

A BMI – weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared – of 30 is the point at which a person is classed as obese and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be classified as such by 2050.

Smokers who refuse to quit will have planned operations postponed for six months, but may be included on surgeons’ waiting lists earlier by proving they have given up for at least eight weeks.

The ban will not apply to cancer patients, or those with some conditions that could becoming life-threatening, or if exceptional circumstances can be shown.

The restrictions echo others made by health bosses in Hertfordshire, the North West and London in the past two years, where blanket referral bans were imposed on patients on the basis of their weight.

The UK is not an outlier. Most government-run health care systems face similar budget implosions. See No end in sight to Ontario’s health-care crisis.

Here in the US, meanwhile, the current system seems to be, um, heading in the wrong direction. See These States Are Facing Huge Obamacare Premium Hikes in 2017.

Now, it’s possible that there’s simply no way to do universal healthcare with today’s level of medical technology. As our understanding of various illnesses improves, treatments are being developed that, initially at least, manage rather than cure. This prolongs life but at astronomical, possibly ruinous cost.

But the fact that the past three decades’ debt binge has left the developed world with negative operating cash flow is undeniably the main culprit. When even day-to-day operations can’t be funded with tax revenue, governments find themselves rationing everything to deal with “unforeseen” crises, of which there is always at least one bubbling up. So nothing is adequately funded. Pensions, for instance, are unsustainable virtually everywhere. See Welcome to the Third World, part 18: Pensions overwhelm public services.

In systems where health care is a government-provided service, you get doctor strikes and ever-more-extreme rationing, as in the UK. Where markets still operate, the result is complexity, corruption and soaring insurance premiums, as in the US.

And so a lifestyle that rich-country citizens, for one golden generation, came to see as their birthright, is squeezed and gradually extinguished. Police protection declines in functionally-bankrupt cities like Chicago, health care is rationed in countries like Britain, and life gets harder for almost everyone. Which, to restate the moral of this series, is exactly what one should expect from a system where governments have the power to create their own money.

48 thoughts on "Welcome To The Third World, Part 19: Health Care Systems Break Down"

  1. A central problem also is that the health care systems are corrupted. Prices for services are fraudulently vague and unconscionably overpriced. Also, the intentions of the pharmaceutical and medical industries is not to cure patients, but to keep them sick and “manage” their symptoms and diseases.

  2. india has already develop low cost healthcare system. prof bhavsarhas written avery good book on health titled space time motion. itis based on ayurvedic andyogic science but goes much ahead in understandingof ayurveda and yoga.alopeth treat both jaggery and sugar as sweet. but ayurveda lsays jaggery is hot and helpfull for fat peopleand sugar is cold and helpfull for thin people. breathing sfits every hour in healthy bodyfrom left toright and viceversa evey hour.what is well known in yoga is right and left should be balanced. but how to do it has been righthly researched and put in proper paradigm by prof sn bhavsar of pune india. world needs ayurvedic and yogic reforms.

  3. Once a nation allows “the chosen tribe” control of its currency, all other indices if quality of life will decline.

  4. I enjoyed a lot your conversation with Gordon T. Long on “markets too big to fail”. I found it very inspiring, indeed, and sent it to many acquaintances in CH and Uruguay mainly… I have noticed that Montevideo does all the mistakes that are common to health care everywhere. In CH too, premiums are rising and become unaffordable. Roche is in Basle. They sport a net 6month of US$ 7 bio and most of their medication goes to people at the end of their lifespan, i.e. there is hardly any monitoring of effectiveness possible due to age. The hoary thing about this is that practically the totality of revenues of Roche is financed by premiums. They (i.e. Genentech and Roche) sell their products at astronomical prices that can easily go way beyond US$ 50’000…
    I penned a thought about Central Banks new self-understanding that goes like this:




  5. The moral should be: exactly what one should expect from a system where governments has delegated money creation to the banking cartel.

  6. Based on all easily available evidence, it doesn’t matter which political party is in control. The elite rich (big banks, multi-national corporations, labor unions, etc) “donate” funds for candidates to reach public office, and, having been bought and paid for, the office holder does what the donors want, NOT what is good for the public. This is necessary if the office holder wants to be re-elected, or stay alive.
    This is facilitated by most public being insouciant, and kept that way by corporate-owned media. We are ruled by the “Deep State”.
    After decades of this, we are witnessing the disintegration of Western societies. There is no saving us from the consequences of these evils, sorry.

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  7. When Conservatives are in charge the little people get service cuts and the well off benefit from it. It seems to happen everywhere the Conservatives govern. It is basically a return to the elitist origins of the Conservative movement.

    1. Hum…I think when either party is in charge they loot the country, then point the finger at each other. Its a game and the people are the victims.

      1. Maybe, but which party brought in public health care for the little people in the first place? Which party historically gives more to the people? There is your tell.

        1. The issue, as the article develops, is not WHO brought it in place. The issue is WHO PAYS for it. No government or party creates wealth. They consume or distribute wealth. Money are not wealth – they measure wealth. You can print money to infinity but you can not eat them and they can’t keep you warm.

          The super rich will NEVER pay anything for the poor – they live off of poor. They make the laws and they always except themselves. The rich and the poor, both feed on the producers till there are no more producers. Then, you are left only with 2 classes: the 0.0001% who print the money and make the laws and everyone else equally poor. The rich hate competition.

          1. The idea is that government has to represent all of the people, not just the elite. Since the 1960’s there has been a slow progression of the wealth and influence of the 1% and their corporations. At some point the people will get tired of all wealth flowing up while they starve. Then its the French Revolution circa…2000 and?… You get my point. There will be a tipping point. Those that have always get over greedy and arrogant. Just when they feel invincible is when it will happen. The last time was 1929-33. The rich paid dearly for that collapse. The next one isn’t that far away. Either we will end up with a Fascist, which is the riches wet dream, or a Reformer like FDR. If its the Fascist we will have to endure some evil ending in war first before real reform.

          2. We live under fascism now and have for over a hundred years. FDR was a fascist and admired the European fascists. Your are tragically confused about the meaning of some of the words you are using.
            Fascism and socialism are terms which both refer to the ownership of everything by a ruling elite. Capitalism refers to private property and the freedom to trade without interference by that ruling elite.
            Fascists and socialists are parasites who want to “distribute” wealth that they did not produce or earn and to get away with that they must constantly vilify producers and traders as “exploiters”. Tiresome.

          3. If you read the following description of Fascism you will find all 14 elements are reflected in the Republican party today.


            BTW: learn your history. Major General Smedley Butler was asked by representatives of the oligarchy in America to foment a coup in 1933. Instead Smedley turned them in to FDR. There was a quiet Congressional investigation and it died quietly because these were some of the richest oligarchs of the day. The general later wrote a book, War Is A Racket, in which he warns that, “A few profit..and the many pay. We were saved from Fascism only because of the courage of Butler!

          4. Fdr was a communist. What we need is less central govmint, more individual freedom, and cross state competion.

          5. No, FDR merely wanted to release America from the stranglehold of the Capitalist elite who, through their greed had caused the Great Depression. He did that well enough so that it took them until 2008 almost mimic what they did in 1929. If social programs were not already in place 2008 would have looked and felt a lot worse for the common person. A lot of unrest was avoided because of social programs already in place to cushion the collapse.

        2. The “party” can not give anything to anyone without first TAKING it from someone else. This simple fact is now writ large in America as the people who take are now outnumbering the people that produce.

          1. Talking about simple facts you do understand that the entire basis of Capitalism is taking from someone else. You are hired under the assumption that you give more than you get in return. The owner has to make money from you or else you are fired. Each worker makes money for the owner. The owner TAKES the profits made by the worker for himself. In return the owner gives some back to the worker. It is an exchange. I do a dollars work and you give me back a nickel. That is the essence of Capitalism.

            In Socialism, in Co-ops run right here in America, the workers altogether share ownership and divide profits among themselves. If 10 people work and make $100 they subtract overhead and divide the remainder. So instead of you getting a nickel for every dollar earned by the company you may end up with twice that. When production and profits increase you divide a larger pie. In Capitalism you would need a union to wrangle more out of the owner. Since the demise of unions the workers of America have seen their wages flat line for a generation even though the companies generally have virtually doubled in size and capacity to produce.

            Which one TAKES? Capitalism every time. Under Capitalism the one who owns the means of production also owns the people who work for him. Under Socialisms co-op idea all costs and profits are shared. The sharing is voted on. The re-investment is voted on. The wages for particular jobs are voted on. You may vote to have a manager who gets 20% more than you. But profits may be still shared equally. That is voted on too. It is very democratic as opposed to the Capitalist model which is authoritarian by nature. That is why Capitalists get along so well with Fascists.

            In each case the worker gets something in return for his labor. The Government also provides something in return for payment. Protection, military, police, fire. Infrastructure, roads, bridges, sewage and water. Social services, education, health care, food safety monitoring.
            They also make rules so that everyone knows the game and plays by the same rules. In return you must pay. The people can and do vote to change the services government supplies. It is an idea that works everywhere all over the world.

            A Socialist government only differs in the equity of taxes collected. The rich usually pay more because they can. The services, again voted on, are usually more government controlled. In Germany all education is free. They do not want services only rich can afford. They think that is counterproductive to a free and equal society. Other social services like day care are usually available in these countries too.
            So there is no TAKE, there is only give and take. Depending on the dominant ideology some people are TAKEN more than others. I would say that Capitalism is lacking a human sensitivity in that it is basically a business model. So that people are treated more like cost objects than human beings.

          2. This short essay on the production of a simple pencil rebuts your argument very well. If you have never read it I highly recommend at least a cursory review.


            There are so many documentable flaws in your contentions above I cannot take the time to refute each one so I offer just one: look at Venezuela today.

            Please, name your socialist successes. Around the world, throughout history, socialism has always, in every case, FAILED.

          3. Socialism exists in various amounts in most of the countries of the world just as does a form of Capitalism does.
            Different amounts are found in different countries. Like Capitalism, Socialism needs to have freedom to flourish. In Venezuela, it has been encumbered by ideological interference from the dominant Capitalist countries especially America. If you knew the history of Venezuela you would understand better. It was run by a small elite before Chavez. A full 80% of the people were unschooled and lived in extreme poverty, poorly fed, with no access to health care. Their country was rich in black gold but only a small elite benefitted(sounds familiar right?). America is headed there on a fast train! Anyway, American, British and Dutch oil companies gave 2% royalties to Venezuela for their “Black gold”.
            Chavez saw the misery of the people and decided to take advantage of it by giving them an offer of something better, Socialism. He may not have meant an entire socialist system at that point but he and Maduro felt driven to it.

            America has a long history of undermining socialism wherever and whenever possible. That is what the CIA/STATE DEPT. do when faced with it. They first try to bribe the leaders into the old ways of economic exploitation. If they don’t bite then they try to foment a coup( 2002). If that doesn’t work they assassinate Chavez conveniently contracted cancer when the coup failed. He died so America is using the oil collapse and their elite within the country to undermine government. If it doesn’t fall at some point soon I think they will foment a civil war and then send in the marines. Then the dictatorship will have “a drug war” and thousands of the Left will die and the Left will be disappeared. America(its oil oligarchs )NEEDS to control oil all over the world.

            There are a lot of people involved in making a pencil. I will bet only a few owners make a good living off of it. Notice that natural resources are used along the way. Natural resources belong to the countries people but very little of the benefit goes to them. That is the Capitalist way.

          4. Your last sentence is a very large lie. What you describe is not Capitalism, but fascism, which is similar to socialism, where, instead of private ownership, you have a gang of parasites called government, who own everything and “the people” get nothing but a few handouts in return for their votes.

          5. You appear to know nothing about Fascism. I suggest you learn about it because we have many of its elements in America just waiting in the wings.
            Take your choice a gang of parasites who are crony capitalists like we have now in America or a gang of government parasites. At least the government parasites are voted in. All parasites are there because the people aren’t aware of its dangers until it is too late…as is happening in America. You are blissfully ignorant of how close we are to Fascism:

          6. Actually its a combination of fascism and corporatism. We had true capitalism and its attendant free markets & small (ma & pa) businesses.
            it was the “merks” (mercantilists: a sort of thieving landlord banker) that hooked up with courts to enslave the working class artisans & homesteaders.. giving rise to fascism NOT capitalism.

            I only hope to see true Capitalism return and flourish after the Great Reset and the following Spring returns.

          7. What you describe is the inevitable rise of a Capitalist elite. The winners know how to win and maintain their winning by dominating everyone else. It’s where it always ends. Winning gives you a leg up, so it is used giving you more power, which is used again. In the end, you will always have those at the top, the 1%, dominating everyone else. That’s just the way it will always shake out.

            It’s built in to Capitalism, especially unregulated Capitalism. That is why deregulation is today’s mantra. It’s the mantra of the wealthy who dominate media, political parties, and culture as a whole, that drive today’s society. Yes, it will end badly for us. That is inevitable too.

            We will see how much they dominate the reset. The reset in the 1930’s had a powerful Left which, while not destroying the power of the elite, at least defanged them somewhat until the Glass-Steagall demise. But that power was given by the Reagan redistribution of wealth when he cut taxes for the rich from 70% to 28%. The rich were dripping in money that pressured the banks to lobby for greater freedom to invest savings in their wild gambling with derivatives that has continued until today ensuring yet another collapse larger than 2008.

          8. Aw w, come on. Everybody just knows socialism/marxism works just fine… until they run out of everybody ELSE’S money.
            Then comes the whining, crying, the purges (hauling you out of line waiting all day for your monthly maggot infested scraps & gruel) to the barbed razor wired FEMA camps, and finally, (you just know it’s coming) it’s time for a nice warm shower.

            of course you could be one of the “lucky” ones, yep, a member of one of those nice “collective” (not cooperative surly?) work crews sharing the inevitable job of carting all those newly “cleaned” bodies from the showers to the ovens, or the lime pits for the overflow.

            Isn’t it wonderful being the butt of the great marxist/communist/socialist…”progressive” Joke. A happy “Useful Idiot” (slave)?
            Such fun… till it’s your turn to shower………

          9. I always wonder: if socialism is so great an idea, why must it be forced on everyone; and if capitalism is so bad an idea, why do people practice it so voluntarily? Why does freedom need to be “cured” by coercion?

          10. Virtually every country’s government has socialist elements in it. Some have more than others but everyone has some. Try to find an advanced economy without a Social program.
            America has a history of interfering with a country’s socialist choices. That is the history of Latin America, we undermine it wherever it appears.

          11. Ya just cant go anywhere without stepping in some damn socialist/prog (progressive) slime.

          12. If you prefer I can go on about how the Capitalist slime is in the process of destroying America yet again. Deregulation and the powerful elite driving to achieve obscene levels of both wealth and power is the condition of America in the 1920’s just prior to the Great Depression. It’s where we are headed again. We could talk about that instead. Perhaps talking about the weather is more where your head is at? Perhaps fashion? Or the latest TV hit show?

          13. “Talking about simple facts you do understand that the entire basis of Capitalism is taking from someone else.”

            Complete nonsense, capitalism is based on CREATING wealth and keeping the wealth you create.

          14. Creating wealth through using people’s cheap labor. I take $100, you get a dime. That’s how billionaires work their way to their money. The money people you can get to work for your dimes the richer you get.

          15. “Creating wealth through using people’s cheap labor.”

            They create wealth, the wealth they create is not the wealth created by people’s labor.

          1. The same people that pay a trillion in corporate tax write offs and pay $700m for the feeding and care of the most expensive military in the history of the world.

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