The World of a Baby Boomer Unraveled

The word Health Insurance has been ranking high on the family roster since the tooth of time started chipping away at our once magnificently young and healthy bodies a couple of years ago what seems now with the increasing speed of a roll of toilet paper nearing the end. My friend Ric, who is my senior by 5 years started warning me about half a decade ago. “Gravity sucks”, he said as often as middle schoolers in Connecticut are apparently saying: “Guess what day it is…?

Granted in the early days of my career years health insurance was a given; it was part of the fringe benefits in the corporate employment package; a ‘gift’ from Union Action over the decades in a country that promoted National Health Insurance as a human accomplishment.

When I decided to leave the corporate world behind to start my own journey I continued private insurance for my partner and myself until she ended up in the emergency room of a Florida Hospital with a hornet poison allergy. Cost of ambulance and ER treatment was $9,800. Insurance paid $2,800 and cancelled our policy. The balance was left for me. Since I grew up in a non-litigeous society, I left it at that, rather than wasting precious time with lawyers and courts.

About a decade later after several “run-ins” with insurance company flood and wind policies on a professional level, I thought I knew a lot more about insurance companies and decided to take out another private health insurance policy; it was the early 90s and it seemed the right thing to do.
Well, two years into the policy, hurricane Luis hit my primary residence, the island of St.Maarten in the Caribbean and getting hurt in the aftermath debris of rusty nails and loose bricks and boards was more a given than a question. Another emergency room visit became inevitable in the process and again, after the financial dust had settled, including payment of a sizable deductible, the policy was cancelled by the insurance company; after faithfully paying premiums of $225 every months for almost 3 years. That’s when I figured that if I would have saved $225 in a special insurance account for those 36 months, I would still have almost $3,000 left in the account for future health emergencies. Self insuring seemed a solid option, as long as medical care is an affordable proposition. And a doctor’s visit in the Caribbean goes anywhere from $35 to $200 per visit and generic pharmaceuticals are very reasonably priced, while a day in a hospital bed cost about the same as an upscale tourist hotel.

Consequently my decision was to no longer bother getting insurance, just put some money aside in your budget for the proverbial rainy day and try to live healthy and preventative. And in many countries that works pretty good, except here in the US where government larceny has reached a level of perfection never before seen in the history of mankind.

History has shown that all form of government is an exercise in larceny. All governments take things away from some people – power, money, dignity, freedom – and bestow favors on the ruling elite and its clients. The masses willingly and eagerly comply, as long as they think they can get something out of it – that is, someone else’s property. And here in this country the government has managed to become the largest employer, which creates a complete other level of direct dependency (until of course they shut down payroll…)

History of Government Larceny

Back in the time of Genghis, Attila, Alexander, Caesar and since the Middle Ages of royalty formation and even Napoleon, things were simpler. A powerful leader was a leader who could conquer other people/tribes/nations. Once conquered, they were looted and maidens were deflowered, and the war machine moved on to the next target. In the process the goodies were divided and ruling elites were created. The leader/ruler were innovative people, giving benefits and titles to the elite and delegated powers of punishment and reward. Those were the good ol’ days – before health insurance!

In those years the framework of a “philosophy” was developed that was later introduced as democracy literally meaning people rule. With much fanfare it was introduced in the nation states of the late 18th century as the most important experiment of humanity so far. Accolades and kudos aplenty and in the last 2 centuries it has been spreading the world like wild fire. Just reflect on how many wars we have and are fighting in the name of bringing democracy.

And yes I know I’m hugely sarcastic at this point because in the ideological years of my youth in the 1960s I believed that humanity might actually be getting somewhere in search of reasons for universe and eternity.
Well that’s not the case because what I’ve really learned since is that the beauty of democracy is that it defrauds the average person into believing that he has been invited into the ruling elite. He thinks that, ultimately, he decides what government does, so naturally, he deserves a share in the spoils.

I’ve said it on more than one occasion here in this country: “I have never seen such a large number of “poor” people defending the rights of the rich.” The only explanation I have for that peculiar behavior is that they were once part of an advancing middle class with presumed rights to the economic spoils of the Nation. Social climbers with a promise to become ruling elite, so to speak. Evidently they haven’t caught up yet with the reality that those dreams were smartly destroyed in the crash of 2008. I do admit that it’s fascinating to see in 2013 how many still believe that nothing has changed and that soon everything will be back to “normal”.

Also I have never seen so many people trying to validate a piece of paper such as the Constitution, that was written in the time and under the circumstances of a rebel war against an oppressor (Britain). Don’t make a mistake, the Constitution and the 10 Amendments that make up the Bill of Rights are a proud relic in my office, as a beautiful representation of its time, but I never ever forget that it was written by a ruling elite, that separated itself from another tyrannical empire, because it was dissatisfied with the arrangements of power and sharing.

And lastly I have never seen so many people adopt such a zombie-like attitude when it comes to being fleeced of their hard earned assets by a clever manipulation between the ruling power of politics and finance.

Coming back to Healthcare and the argument in Congress that this Government shut down is over the Affordable Healthcare Act, maybe you understand my confusion when looking at the following factual bullet points on American Health Care:

• Roughly $2.2 trillion is spent annually in America – more, per capita than in any other nation – on health-related consumption. The fight is over who gets the money and who gets the care.

• When comparing life expectancies and quality of life, it strikes me that most of the money spent on health care is simply wasted, for France has a nationalized system. It costs considerably less per person than the US system. Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia – all the developed countries have health-care programs partly or wholly run by the feds in one form or another. All spend substantially less than the US and all have about the same or better life expectancies.

• Cuba, a front runner in global medical technology, relatively spends only a fraction as much as the US… But it, too, has life expectancy rates that are not much different. A root canal in Panama, Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic is about 10% of the price quoted here in the US, often performed by very capable and up to date orthodontists and dental surgeons from Europe or Asia.

I could go on and on but it should be clear by now that GOVERNING is all about transferring money to the ruling elite. If it would be about a healthy population and an efficient health-care system, the system would cease offering health care services to anyone who was overweight, smoked or to anyone who couldn’t do at least 10 push-ups.

The US Health Care System is based on End Care rather than preventive care. This was not a decision made yesterday, this was done many many years ago.

Preventive care does not sell pharmaceuticals and that would mean that there are no spoils to share among the ruling elite.
The same goes for Wall Street’s spin doctored bull runs, the Federal Reserves stubborn promotion of monetary stimulus and low interest rates and the promotion of fear among the masses. People spend enormous amounts of money when they are afraid.

And what is there to be more afraid of that a failing health and pain.

Welcome to my first segway into Life through the Lens of a Baby Boomer! I’ll try to keep it light and fluffy.