Damn the progressive fascists who won't let me sell you my urine!

>> Monday, March 29, 2010

I had a vision, people. The scales fell from my eyes and I saw the way to reform the American healthcare system. I have two people to thank for my revelation and coming around: the first is Dave, a.k.a. "Leanright," a frequent commenter on this blog who responded to this post with a devastating riposte to insurance reform. The other is the greatest Russo-American in history, the brilliant scholar/philosopher/authoress Ayn Rand; I have to confess I've never made the time to read Ms. Rand's writings, having only been exposed to them secondhand, but this weekend I had a chance to listen to a 1959 Mike Wallace interview with Ayn Rand posted at Mrs. Bitch's blog, in which I found myself amazed by the way Rand flattened Wallace with her historical acumen, perspicacity and rightly-vaunted rationality.

The problem with American healthcare, I realized, was that we haven't let the free market properly operate. It's obvious to me now: costs are out of control and people are in massive debt because we have failed to allow the invisible hand of capitalism to guide us.

Here at the blog, I responded to Dave by saying, in part:

I can't get a Big Mac without paying for it first so why am I allowed to get lifesaving surgery without paying for it up front, cash-on-the-barrelhead? If I have insurance, naturally they're a business and need to conduct their business rationally--so in such a purely free-market scheme, naturally they'd be entitled to shop around. I mean, hey, why should they be required to pay the first hospital I'm wheeled into when there might be a better bargain on the other side of town, or elsewhere in the state?

I was on the right track with that, but attacking the manner in which the medical industry relies on performing business on credit to its detriment is really closing the doors after the horse has run out and the barn has caught fire and burned down, so I'm really not even sure how you're closing the doors unless maybe they're made out of metal or something and withstood the conflagration.

No, the real problem with the medical industry is government regulation.

Back at the end of the 19th Century, those awful proto-communofascists that are misleadingly referred to as "progressives" got legislatures to meddle in what had traditionally been a free-market system exactly like that contemplated by the Founding Fathers. To wit, they allowed the American Medical Association, formed in 1847 with exactly this nefarious purpose in mind, to create a quasi-monopoly on the practice of medicine by convincing state legislatures to require that those engaging in the practice of medicine be licensed. This movement to destroy free enterprise medicine reached its acme (or nadir, really) in 1910 with the publication of the Flexner Report (with, it has to be mentioned, the assistance of a foundation established by infamous monopolist Andrew Carnegie); the Flexner Report set arbitrarily high standards for medical schools (and recommended that government interfere with their trade) and arbitrary and unfair standards for physicians (e.g. requiring a high school diploma and some college education).

This is, to put it bluntly, bullshit.

In the Founders' time, any entrepreneur who wanted to call himself a doctor did so, dammit, and he didn't let big government try to stop him by asking him if he could read and write or knew where the humerus was (it's that thing that hangs down in the back of the throat). He simply engaged in his God-given right to run a business without meddling by "Big Brother" in the form of various "regulatory" agencies looking out for the public "welfare" (note that word, people, it means "socialism"). If he was good at his business, business thrived; if he was bad at his business, he shut down and hung out a new shingle in another county or state, possibly under a new name, and it was all good--because that's how the free market, guaranteed to us by the Constitution and the Declaration Of Independence, operates.

Similarly, communofascists who want to make decisions for you have convinced the government to regulate the manufacture and sale of medicines, driving prices sky high and allowing "Big Pharma" to acquire "patents" that allow them a monopoly on supposed curatives. This is clearly a restraint of trade: if I want to pee in a jar and then sell it as an ulcer cure, mood stabilizer, performance enhancer and hair tonic, I ought to be able to, dammit, without the Federal government or state bureaucracies telling me I can't! And you can't tell me my urine doesn't have curative properties--not unless you do the kinds of ridiculous experiments, tests and clinical trials that Government wants to subject enterprising businessmen like myself to.

And what does that do to your medical expenses? Well, let me put it to you this way: I would sell my piss for a song, a helluva lot less than you'd pay "Big Pharma" for one of their artificially-engineered "molecules" (that's right--my urine is 100% All Natural, meaning it comes from nature and is therefore good for you).

So it's government meddling that's driven up the price of healthcare in this country, and who do you have to blame for it? That's right, progressives: people who believe you should pay more just so you can see somebody who has some kind of fancy "medical degree" from a "medical school" and will prescribe some kind of artificial molecule designed in a lab that's been tested to make sure it won't cause blindness in a rat. (You're not a rat, are you? Didn't think so.) When there are unemployed high school dropouts who, I'm pretty sure, would be happy to sell you my urine on the basis of a reasonable commission. And if my urine doesn't cure your athlete's foot, halitosis, or type 1 diabetes, you have a simple, free enterprise remedy Benjamin Franklin would've heartily approved of: don't buy my urine again. (Of course, I hate that you'd give up so quickly--I would tell you, if I was allowed by the repressive overlords of the State to engage in the free market, that it's possible you need to make a regular regimen out of drinking my urine to see results.)

All of this brings us around to the original point I made with Dave, namely the perniciousness of doing business on credit. One reason so many people are bankrupted by medical problems is that our current, unfairly regulated system allows people to go in and receive medical care they can't pay for. Four words, people: "cash," "on," "the," "barrelhead" (I know that last one sounds like two words, but it really is just one). Pay in advance. You'd certainly be more prudent in purchasing medical care if you had to pay cash right there on the spot: you get wheeled into my clinic (that I'd have if I wasn't penalized by the monopolists and fascist regulators) complaining that your chest hurts and you have a tingling numbness all up and down your left arm and I'm supposed to just drop everything so I can try to figure out what you're whining about? I don't fucking think so. Cash. Up front. Sorry, no checks. But I'll also tell you this--and this is part of keeping costs down for consumers--you show me an ad from some other medical provider offering a low rate on diagnostics and/or treatment, and I guarantee I will beat it. Or I would if engaging in free enterprise wasn't a damn felony--I can't tell you how much that chafes my ass, to think about government shackling the invisible hand, stifling innovation (how will we know if my urine can stop a heart attack if I'm not allowed to administer it to you, eh?) and driving up costs for the benefit of so-called "professionals" with their years of study and "internships" in "hospitals."


So, I'm converted! I hereby retract every misguided thing I might have said about government in the health market: take your grubby hands off my right to open a business, you communofascist pigs! I have a right to put out a sign and sell my urine to dying people, and you have no right to stop me, because that is not what the Founding Fathers intended when they set up a country in which hairstylists and circus carnies could serve the sick and dying by drawing blood, selling them copper bracelets and horse urine (you'd at least get human urine if I was your physic, unless I was having a really hard time going), electrocuting them, selling them narcotics that hadn't been criminalized yet, rubbing poop on their feet, and otherwise engaging in that most noble of trades:



Janiece Monday, March 29, 2010 at 2:30:00 PM EDT  

I should know better than to read your rants while trying to ingest my lunch.

Stupid monitor.

You put your finger right in the sore (which you can cure - with urine!). The emotionally retarded "BIG L" libertarian Ayn Rand fan clubbers don't seem to understand that the very things they advocate will lead directly to a culture that's simply not worth saving.

Satire, thou name is Eric!

Mrs. Bitch Monday, March 29, 2010 at 5:27:00 PM EDT  

I suppose it's too late to say this is the post I meant to make with the Rand audio ;)

I'm with Janiece, but thank God I was only drinking coffee.

Leanright,  Monday, March 29, 2010 at 6:16:00 PM EDT  

Surprise! I'm a Rand Supporter, and have read Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and Anthem. Although, I do not support her allegience to Atheism. I do understand based upon a quote regarding altruism from her: She sees no ill in doing good for others, what she hadn't supported in the past is that notion of altruism that one SIMPLY cannot exist without altruistic natures. Charity is respected and appreciated, but one should not be required to live an altruistic life by the barrel of a gun, but by their choice to do so.


I'm not coming here to argue my point and say it's better than anyone elses; we are all free to believe as we wish.

Janiece Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 11:12:00 AM EDT  

Surprise! I'm a Rand Supporter...

Not really.

And you're correct - we are all free to believe as we wish. And in a democracy where the majority rules (with appropriate protections for the minority), those of us who believe you shouldn't be able to sell your urine do, in fact, rule.

Tom Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 7:29:00 PM EDT  

Eric, I have it on good authority that your urine will be MORE POWERFUL if you dilute it several orders of magnitude first, with just plain distilled water. Dilute it so much that there's a good chance that not one molecule from your original glass of pee is left in the dilution!

Just think! You'd only have to go ONCE! Then you could provide millions of doses to people without running out of the original!

And there's just tons of people who absolutely swear that this dilution thing works!

Just think of it as Free Market in action.

nonsomer: what a comsumer becomes after one dose of Eric's urine.

Eric Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 8:32:00 PM EDT  

It's funny you mention that, Tom: if you do a Google search for "medical licensing" (as I did when I was fact-checking myself on this one--yes, believe it or not, I was fact-checking satire), a lot of the top hits are from homeopaths and other practitioners of "alternative medicine" making similar arguments to what I presented in this post--only for reals and in complete seriousness.

Amazing world we live in. But not always for the best....

neurondoc Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 9:51:00 PM EDT  

Eric, can I be a member of your harem?

Seriously, though, you hit the nail on the head. There is a reason that the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act was passed in 1938. Initially, I believe the purpose was to safeguard the public from unsafe and INEFFECTIVE drugs (as well as unsafe food and food additives). The Act has been amended multiple times over the past 72 years. Prior to this law (and a less encompassing act passed in 1906), anybody could sell anything for medicinal purposes. One would think that the free-market system should work in this kind of system -- people won't buy stuff that doesn't work or harms them. But it really doesn't work that way, because of several factors, not the least of which are the placebo effect, regression to the mean, and people die from bad illnesses. If you die after you take some alchemical potion, was it because of the potion or the underlying reason you needed that potion? Hmmm? How can you answer that without government interference and regulation?

Oh, and I have read Ayn Rand extensively: Atlas Shrugged, Anthem, The Fountainhead, We the Living, and Night of January 16th. I read her when I was in my teens and even then I could see that her vision of society just wouldn't work. I did enjoy Eric Frank Russell's "And Then There Were None", though...

cedfzym = a heretofore undiscovered protein that breaks down brain cells. Or something.

neurondoc Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 9:59:00 PM EDT  

Oh, I forgot -- I wanted a single payor system, too. If only so that I would have to beg only one bunch of undereducated people to let me order specific tests or drugs for my patients. It is so annoying to have to beg a variety of people, all with different INCOMPREHENSIBLE rules (that they don't understand, didn't write, and don't care about).

Leanright,  Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 3:25:00 PM EDT  

This is what WE'RE up to in Orange County:


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