How Healthcare Became Monopolized

This is the second article in our series on health optimization. I'll just say up front that today's topic is kind of a controversial one, but it's an important one for anyone trying to navigate the modern healthcare juggernaut in an attempt to find healing. Juggernaut refers to an enormous entity with powerful crushing capabilities.

The history of the word "juggernaut" according to Merriam-Webster: In the early 14th century, Franciscan missionary Friar Odoric brought to Europe the story of an enormous carriage that carried an image of the Hindu god Vishnu (whose title was Jagannath, literally, "lord of the world" [blue guy with four arms in photo above]) through the streets of India in religious processions. Odoric reported that some worshipers deliberately allowed themselves to be crushed beneath the vehicle's wheels as a sacrifice to Vishnu.

There are some real parallels between worshipers of Vishnu and victims of the modern healthcare juggernaut. It starts with an attitude of reverence, deference, and submission toward doctors. This attitude is pushed or even coercively forced on people by the juggernaut as illustrated by some of the horror stories in my first article. 

If you are seeking healing, I think the first important thing to understand is that you are responsible for your own health. No one else cares for you or feels what's going on in your body like you do. It's your body and your health - not theirs. And you have to live with the consequences of anything you allow them to do to you - they don't. You must stand up for yourself because it's unlikely anybody else will. Don't allow anyone to persuade or bully you into submitting to anything you're not okay with. It is an absolute violation of your rights to have any procedure forced on you. Most cases are not so urgent that you can't take some time to think about it, research it, or get a second opinion.

Powerful Crushing Capabilities

Healthcare actually has many competing schools of thought, which is a good thing! Competition generally leads to better products and services and lower prices - the exact opposite of what's been happening with healthcare. The problem is that in 1847 one school of thought started a lobbying group and began unethically working to discredit and even outlaw their competition. The name of that group is the American Medical Association (AMA) and they have been extremely successful. The losers have been the American people and probably the rest of the world as well because of US influence.

We have first-hand experience with the undeserved clout of the AMA that illustrates the whole point. Our four children were all born in Idaho, and the last two were delivered at home by a midwife. We became aware of a new law that would put our midwife out of business along with most other midwives in the state. My wife helped coordinate a campaign to try and repeal it.

The background is that the AMA has lobbied for and achieved a government-enforced monopoly for their members on numerous medical procedures and the administration of numerous medicines. One of those medicines could easily be used by midwives to save a mother's life if she hemorrhages during delivery - but that would be illegal thanks to the AMA. Instead a hemorrhaging mother has to make a risky and expensive transport to the emergency room.

One Idaho midwife illegally (but rightfully) saved a mother's life by administering the medicine and was prosecuted for it. What's wrong with this picture? You would think some insane laws would be changed, but you would be wrong. The AMA is one of the most powerful lobbies in the state. The only compromise they would make that would allow midwives the use of a life-saving medicine was for all midwives in the state to submit to highly-regulated and unnecessarily-expensive occupational licensing with AMA oversight. 

The prosecuted midwife worked with some legislators - not the rest of the midwives - to create a new law based on the AMA position. Most midwives were now going to be driven out of business because they really weren't running a business - unlike AMA members. Many only delivered a few babies per year - more as a community service than a money-making scheme, and they couldn't afford the new costs that were being foisted on them. Unfortunately for them and the communities they served, the effort to repeal the new law was unsuccessful.
Testifying for Midwifery Freedom before an Idaho Senate Committee in 2008
The AMA juggernaut, with its almost 200 state and specialty affiliates, is an enormous entity with powerful crushing capabilities. This example simply illustrates how competing schools of thought are squelched, and you can imagine thousands of examples like this taking place in states and at the federal level over the last century or so. This limits consumer choices and results in higher prices with less competition. The story also illustrates how occupational licensing is a racket generally created to benefit some at the expense of others. Does it do any good to require your barber to purchase a government license? Not for you. But it creates barriers to entry for his potential competition. There are numerous and better free market alternatives for consumer protection.

Wait Till It’s Free

Healthcare hasn't become totally monopolized in America - yet. That's not really possible without government intervention, which, if certain people get their way, is exactly what we're going to get: A total healthcare monopoly run by the government like the post office or the DMV. But because of so much government intervention over the last hundred years or so, healthcare has become increasingly monopolized. 

We do already have a government-run healthcare system here - it's called the VA, or Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to its many high-profile scandals over the years, I have personal experience with it through my father. He thought it was a wonderful program that would totally take care of him. Boy was he wrong. He literally lost a leg just a few years ago because of his misplaced trust! And he suffered with increasingly intense leg pains for a couple of years leading up to it. All they had done was put him on a variety of drugs which never helped. Then he went to the hospital for a hernia operation and while he was "out" they discovered he had gone septic and amputated his leg after convincing his sister - who gave the okay - that it was necessary to save his life. Down to one leg the pains in it continued until they finally put a stint in that allowed blood to reach his leg. The lack of blood is why his other leg had gone septic, but it's too late to do anything about it. And the hernia operation has still not been completed!
My dad after he arrived home missing a leg
These types of stories are common everywhere in the world where they have government-run healthcare. Scottish documentary filmmaker Colin Gunn produced an excellent film several years ago called Wait Till It's Free that looks at healthcare on both sides of the Atlantic and shows how America has been progressively increasing government intervention for the last hundred years, which is leading to the same disastrous system people in Great Britain suffer under. The video is available online and I highly recommend it.
Wait Till It’s Free
The title of Wait Till It's Free comes from a quote by the late P.J. O'Rourke, "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free."

Now that you have a little background information about how we've gotten the bureaucratic juggernaut called modern American healthcare, I look forward to sharing many promising options for health optimization in future articles.

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2 thoughts on “How Healthcare Became Monopolized”

  1. Pingback: Do Any Doctors Get It? – Sabbatical Ranch

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