As Paul Krugman points out in his blog, quoting liberally from your humble servant (“Does not compute“; 07/20/08):

“The basic facts on health care are clear: government-run insurance is more efficient than private insurance; more generally, the United States, with the most privatized health care in the advanced world, has a wildly inefficient system that costs far more than anyone else’s, yet delivers no better and arguably worse medical care than European systems… we don’t have a Medicare crisis, we have a health care crisis. Private insurance is collapsing as we speak.”

Indeed, the French health care system, a mix of private added value and public global basic net, costs 8% of French GDP, whereas the US system (which is public only for some restricted categories of indigents that use Medicare and Medicaid) costs 16% of US GDP. All European health care systems have cost below 10% of GDP.

Anybody familiar with gold plated US health care insurance and the French health care system knows that the later is vastly superior in all ways (including quality, state of the art, waiting times, 365/24/7 access, choice, etc…). It’s no coincidence that super star Angelina Jolie chose a standard hospital in Nice to give birth to twins: as UN ambassador of sorts, she has been around.

Why is this happening?

The basic principle of slavery is to use the lives of a class of people to maximize the profit of another class of people. The idea is to exchange lives against gold. For-profit health care is just a particular case of this. That is why it thrives in the USA. By allowing legal slavery inside its borders, the only developed country that did for the last millennium, the USA got ready for the health care system invented by Richard Nixon (the HMOs).

Slavery was an example of being stuck in the distant past. There are others examples of obsolescence on steroids in the US. The USA is also the only country in the world still using a system of units coming straight from the Middle Ages: the mile, the foot, the inch, the pound, the ounce, sometimes fluid ounces, sometimes solid ones, ice freezes at 32, and water boils at 212… Robots have crashed on Mars because their US programmers mixed up their units, using half of one system, half of another. 

Of course, universal health care already exists in the USA, many Americans would point out. Thanks to the Good lord, anybody can pray to God. 

It would seem that the USA is affected with a sort of mental paralysis, and, unsurprisingly, US health care is unable to treat it, since its further colossal profits depend upon that ongoing paralysis.

And it shall go on, at least for now, because Mr. Warren Buffet, the world’s richest investor, has Senator Obama’s economic ear (Mr. Obama confided on TV that Mr. Buffet has advice on taxes he intended to follow. Of course). Mr. Buffet is a specialist of turning health care insurance into multi billion dollar profit for himself. First things first. Let advice flow from serious money, it should turn into even more gold.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose…


Patrice Ayme.



P/S: People-power (demo-cracy) could stop money-power (pluto-cracy). But not to worry. In the present US presidential campaign, it seems money will sacrifice two billion dollars of its precious self, by far the largest amount ever spent, besides providing a lot of volunteer time and advice to help see things through. There are no suggestions to imitate the public health care plans found in the 27 countries of the 500 million people European Union.

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2 Responses to “TURNING CARE INTO GOLD.”

  1. Larry G Says:

    I entirely agree with your comments about health care, Plutocracy it is. But the analogy with slavery, and especially its historical context, is flawed. It’s true that no other developed country had slavery within its borders, but all the imperial powers promoted slavery within some of their colonies. As everyone knows, several of those colonies made up part of the US, which had, I suppose, the misfortune to win its independence before Britain abolished colonial slavery in 1833. This fact made slavery in the US an intractable problem that could be resolved only by war.

    Let us hope that medical insurance can be fixed by some process less violent.


  2. patriceayme Says:

    My point about slavery and health care was not historical, but PHILOSOPHICAL. Slavery denies the fact people have a body they own, instead their body is primarily viewed as a source of profits. If there were no profits, there would be no for profit US health care system. Therefore the US health care system is a form of slavery. Such was my reasoning.

    You rise the interesting point that the USA was not a colony when England forbade the slave TRADE in 1807 (not 1833); Scotland had never allowed it. During the American Revolution, American blacks fled to the British because Great Britain did not allow slavery. They were resettled in Africa (Sierra Leone, etc…).

    Indeed, slavery itself was unlawful in France (since 660 CE), it was unlawful in England (since the Frankish conquest of 1066 CE), it was unlawful in Spain (on the Catholic side, ever since the border kingdoms were established by the Franks, before 800 CE; although slavery was allowed in Muslim Al Andalus, because the Qur’an is founded on slavery). Any slave found in any European State had to be freed right away (although the pope had allowed the slavery of Africans in the 15th century, that authorization was only for Christians, not inside Europe herself, where secular law, from the Franks, reigned!).

    The problem of the colonies was that the full weight of European law was not brought to bear. The London Company became the English colony in America, and that turned into the USA. It had the right of making its own laws, and a Christian mission (so the Pope’s order may have been viewed as relevant, besides Leviticus, that recommends slavery). It was the same for many colonies (although not so with French Canada).

    In any case, clearly the leaders of the colonies, when they went to Paris to get support from the French Crown, were not fully enlightened. The French monarchy’s police forced the American Founding Fathers to pay a salary to their slaves as if they were employees. President Washington refused to make slavery unlawful, in spite of the urgent requests from his friend La Fayette.

    A republic was founded in America, on racially determined slavery, something not seen in the West for millennia, if ever. A heavy weight to bear.


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