“The American people need health care, not health insurance.”
~ Catherine Austin Fitts
by Catherine Austin Fitts
Personal health care choices have become a risky gauntlet in America. Increasingly, we are navigating between evils – like Homer’s mythical sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis
Personal choices in the health care area come down to what sea monsters you are willing to manage – and which ones you are not. Because these choices involve potentially life and death decisions, they are highly personal. We each have to weigh options for ourselves, as we must each live with the consequences.
Which is to say that I am about to tell you what I do, but I am not recommending it for you. You must assess your needs and risks which are likely different than mine.
First, Some History
In 1998, I was a well-insured person. My father was a surgeon who had always impressed on me the importance of having insurance to protect against a wide range of personal and professional liabilities.
I had excellent health care insurance, life insurance, and very expensive disability insurance. My business had expensive errors & omission insurance.
Our Board secretary who had worked for me for over a decade and was one of our most important shareholders was dying of cancer. As the company health care policy folded, I spent a terrifying month making sure her life insurance and health care continued and her assets were protected through the chaotic state of litigation, smear campaign and physical harassment. I was successful – but not before I had contemplated the full, terrifying weight of what it would mean if I failed.
For the next few years, I spent quite a lot of money making sure I had individual health care insurance. As I did, the demands for health records increased and became progressively more invasive. In the meantime, I discovered that my errors & omissions insurer was a criminal enterprise. Paying for insurance was one thing. Having it work for you rather than against you when you needed it was quite another.
Pressed by the expense of litigating with the government, I moved to Tennessee. I then entered into a very paperful, complex and time consuming process being rejected by Blue Cross and then put on the state system and then thrown off the state system and told they would only consider me if I was yet again rejected by Blue Cross. I was being churned – I finally realized continuing was a waste of precious time.
Letting Go of Health Insurance
In those years I went from living in a trance where life outside an insured status was terrifying to a state of grace where I was happy to leave.
I had reached the point where my trust in the general system – whether traditional health care or insurance – was severely eroded. An insurance premium had become throwing good money after bad. Could I trust the insurance company to honor their obligations? And if they did honor them, could I trust a hospital to provide sensible heath care and not play politics with my treatments?
I helped friends navigate the health care system and became convinced that the risks outside the system were no longer as great as the risks inside the system.
I finally realized that my ancestors had lived and thrived for centuries without health care insurance. Why was I so mentally and emotionally attached to it? I let go.
My outlook changed. When I thought I needed a doctor – or would have in the old days – I did not go. Instead, I prayed. I also started to practice a wide number of old time and inexpensive alternative therapies. To my amazement, this worked in most situations.
Prayer would often tell me what I needed to do. Plenty of sleep, water and rest helped the body heal itself, as my father had always said it would. My list of home made and inexpensive but effective remedies grew.
I lived in an area with a number of clinics run by capable nurse practitioners. When I needed the miracles of modern health – such as antibiotics – I went to the clinics and paid cash. I borrowed the money I needed to keep going to the dentist.
Investing in Health
Several years into my “no health insurance” status, I settled my litigation with the federal government and faced the question of how to repair the physical damage that had resulted from many years of the resulting poverty, stress and harassment.
I bought a very modest house in the low cost rural area where I had been living. I decided to spend a significant sum on a combination of organic and fresh food, installing a whole house water filtration system, and undertaking an aggressive detox program and rebuilding my immune system. I joined a gym. I spent my money on health and health care instead of insurance.
One concession to the health insurance industry was to arrange a travel insurance policy through AAA. If I was in a car or other transportation accident, I would be covered. Trauma is, in fact, where the US medical system is at its best. And AAA is, in my experience, one of the most trustworthy organizations in America.
The second was to always buy a short-term health care policy when I traveled abroad.
Then, several years ago, I read about Samaritan Ministries in Franklin Sanders newsletter, The Moneychanger. Samaritan Ministries is a cooperative of Christians with members funding qualified mutual medical expenses. I joined. Each month, I write several checks to reimburse other members for their health care costs. I have never had to request a reimbursement.
The money that would go for insurance continues to go instead for organic foods and supplements and to pay out of pocket when I see my dentist, nurse practitioner, nutritionist or chiropractor.
When I look at the accumulated funds invested in health and preventative health instead of insurance over the latest twelve years – it is now a sizeable sum.
I am confident that I am a much healthier person as a result.
Back to sea monsters, the risks of not being healthy appeared to me to be greater than the risks of a catastrophic need other than a car or travel accident.
I appreciate that it could have gone the other way. It still could.
When Obamacare came along, I went to the website to see what options the system was offering. The best was $870 a month with a $5,000 deductible. I was clearly better off paying the penalty.
A friend in Massachusetts had warned me about what would happen. She explained that when the Massachusetts planned first rolled out, she was paying approximately $2,500 a year for health care. After the plan was legislated, she was required to pay $2,500 for health care insurance with a $2,500 deductible. As a result, she was no longer going to the doctor, as she could no longer afford health care. She had swapped health care for health care insurance.
What I think of Obamacare is a much longer discussion – and not the topic of this post. I believe that a civilized nation ensures that its people have the best possible fresh, healthy food possible, clean water and access to excellent health care and education at affordable prices.
On that score, America gets an F – we flunk. I don’t believe that Obamacare was designed to address the core elements of the changes we need to get to a passing grade.
The Economic Truth About US Healthcare
What I do appreciate about Obamacare is that some Americans find themselves worse off – now without insurance or with more expensive, lower quality insurance – and some Americans find themselves better off –with access to affordable insurance. I don’t know how that sorts out in total numbers.
What I do know is what my father once taught me. He came home the night that Congress created Medicare. I had rarely seen him that upset. He said to me, “If you let the federal government get into medicine, they will destroy it.”
He was right.
Of the many things I find appalling about this whole process of centralized control of medicine is that millions of Americans are convinced they need health care insurance, when in fact what we need is health care. Why do we need a layer of highly invasive and expensive financial products? I think the answer is very simple – centralized control.
When I first went through the numbers of Obamacare and heard a random sample of what our team and subscribers were going to now be required to pay for insurance, I knew that what we were watching was a shift in the household budget that would have a dramatic impact on which corporations derived what flows from American household budgets.
If American families were going to increase their expenditures on health care insurance, then they were going to reduce other expenditures. If a large number of families have $100-$1,000 of discretionary spending available every month and their insurance bill increases $1,000 per month, then the companies enjoying that $1,000 of consumer goods and vacation spending were going to experience reduced revenues.
Which is why I always say that Obamacare did to the American casino industry what generations of preachers could never do.
That has nothing to do with whether Obamacare is good or bad. That is the simple mathematics of family budgets.
The reality of what happened is pretty easy to see in the stock market. Since Obamacare passed, health care has been the strongest sector in the US stock market:
My Coast to Coast AM Fan Mail
So why am I droning on about my personal heath care choices and Obama care?
I was on Coast to Coast AM Radio the other night. Host George Noory asked me about Radio Shack financial troubles. In my comments I noted the impact on retail of the drop in funds available for consumer spending, vacations and gambling as a result of increased spending on health care insurance following the passage of Obamacare. This inspired the following two e-mails:
“I heard you on the radio tonight saying Obamacare is the reason Radio Shack and the Casinos are going out of business. Laugh out loud funny. Your politicization of economics is hilariously out of touch with reality. I pity you. May God bless you, though.”
“you are wrong about Obamacare…I could not afford decent healthcare with this program. just because you are wealthy and always had great insurance, doesn’t mean everyone did. You merely hate Obama, so you hate and misrepresent his great program. You are wrong.” – from Austin, Texas
Which brings me to the point of writing this post.
I do indeed believe that the passage of Obamacare shifted household expenditures out of discretionary consumer spending and into health insurance and health care. It also caused a shift of full time employees to part time. This also lowered consumer expenditures. This contributed to pro forma lower revenues at a wide variety of stores and facilities that serve consumers, such as US casinos and electronic stores.
That assessment has nothing to do what I think about Obamacare, or what I think about the President. It has to do with an assessment of the impact on economic flows of changes in laws and regulations that impact economic flows.
The squeeze on the average American and the elimination of the American middle class has been going on for a long time. Whatever has happened in the last five years is a continuation of a much longer, more powerful trend. This trend combined with increased competition has put tremendous pressure on casino and retail stores such as Radio Shack. Obamacare certainly did not start it.
So think of Obamacare as one of the latest of many, many centralizing control nails in the coffin.
And the Point Is…?
Great civilizations consist of people who can deal with complexity and reality. Anyone who thinks I have great insurance or have personal feelings one way or another about the President, let alone translate them into my assessment of what is happening in the economy is not interested in reality or willing to take the time to get the basic facts.
Here is one of the most basic facts: I have not had health care insurance for more than a decade. If you do and that is what you want, I am happy for you.
In my heart, I still believe it’s a free country. You and I should be free to chose the sea monsters we swim with – not the people who control the federal government.