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The greatest health “system” in the world

Is responsible for a two-year decline in life expectancy.

Make no mistake, the profit motive embedded in the US healthcare system is directly responsible for an unprecedented drop in life expectancy; opioid manufacturers’ and distributors’ focus on profits coupled with lax governmental oversight led to the opioid disaster.

So, 42,000 of your kids, neighbors, friends, relatives, co-workers died from opioids last year.

But fear not, the addiction treatment industry is riding to the rescue.  Funded by your insurance premiums and tax dollars, a plethora of “treatment” centers are popping up.  While some are excellent, many are nothing more than “treatment mills”, operations set up to suck as many dollars as possible from patients, taxpayers and insurers. Once the dollars run out, the patients are kicked to the curb.

Here’s one example…

The schemes are many, with treatment mills paying body brokers to recruit addicts, false addresses to ensure insurance coverage, fake credentials for “clinicians” and huge bills for non-existent services.

The next time some uninformed individual starts babbling about the exceptionalism of the American healthcare “system”, stick this under his/her nose – we’re exceptional at creating addicts, killing people, lowering life expectancy, crushing souls, while making huge profits for investors legitimate and not.

What’s the solution? 

We pay more for healthcare than anyone else in the world, dollars that are diverted from education, job creation, infrastructure. Many of these dollars are well spent, but the opioid treadmill is just one example of waste and fraud.

A good start would be to much more aggressively prosecute the opioid shills and their buddies in the “treatment” business.  Long and hard jail time for the executives and investors would help prevent the next disaster, but the $209 million in lobbying dollars spent last year by the pharma and device industry makes that unlikely at best.

You get the government you deserve, and you deserve to get it good and hard. HL Mencken.



9 thoughts on “The greatest health “system” in the world”

  1. Joe,

    Congress has a part in this too. They are in the pocket of big pharma, and one guy even admitted his role in passing legislation that opened up the flood gates. Money in politics is the reason, Citizens United is the vehicle that fostered this greed.

  2. A crackdown on opioid fraud is certainly important (including over prescribing physicians), but more states must take legislative action to limit access and use of opioids in Non-Group Health Plans like Workers Compensation.
    Ohio has made significant strides in this area, and more states need to follow.
    It is also ridiculous that Medicare requires Medicare Set Asides to cover opioids for a claimant’s life expectancy.
    Historically, in NGHP, federal and state government has made it extremely difficult for Carriers and Self Insured Employers to limit opioid use and access.

  3. And of course putting a former big pharma exec, Alex Azar, as head of Department of Health & Human Services doesn’t exactly engender a lot of confidence that anything will change in terms of reigning in spending…

    1. thanks Jen – I like the Jefferson quote too – “The government you elect is the government you deserve.”

  4. As long as we’re on an H L Mencken kick, one of my favorites, and appropo for this piece, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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