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I tire of people who are too damned ignorant to be bothered with 30 seconds of research.

For example, one of the memes going around is how "evil" Aetna is because their CEO gets paid a lot of money.  The meme, of course, is that Aetna the company (and other health "insurers") is screwing Americans out of huge amounts of money because they are refusing to continue selling "health insurance" at a loss through Obamacare exchanges, and told the government in advance that adverse action by them against a merger they wanted to conduct would lead them to not have the economy of scale required to defray those losses.

The government sued anyway, and Aetna kept their promise.  For this they're evil, you see, as opposed to not telling anyone in advance what their calculations said the only logical decision was should they be sued.

Never mind that "health insurance" is a fraud in the first place since insurance is something you buy to cover you against financial ruin should you suffer an unexpected and unlikely calamity.  If you attempt to buy "fire insurance" while your house is on fire (or deliberately set it on fire) you will find that nobody will sell it to you, and if you deceive an insurer about the pre-existence of the fire or your intentions to set one you go to prison.  Ditto if you buy "auto insurance" while intending to deliberately crash your car or have someone steal it.  Therefore, buying "health insurance" to cover either routine, suspected, expected or already-existing medical needs is in fact not insurance; it is simply a scheme to force someone else to pay some of your ordinary and expected expenses, and for this service the "insurance" company is certainly entitled to some percentage of the money, since nobody works for free.

This, of course, belies the truth behind such "insurance"; nobody would ever sell it or buy it voluntarily since by definition it isn't insurance; it's a cost-shifting scheme in which nobody would participate if they were paying more than they were getting since (1) you wouldn't voluntarily do so unless you were deceived or (2) you were forced at gunpoint by some law.  Therefore, by definition the present "health insurance" system is a fraud and since it is arguably organized for the purpose of theft by either deception or force along with being a fraud it is also quite-arguably an organized criminal enterprise -- that is, racketeering.

But leaving that outright scam of so-called "health insurance" (and the fact that everyone in the industry who uses that term with knowledge of its falsehood ought to be under indictment or in prison) aside the criticism would be fine and it might even be defensible, but for one tiny problem.

Aetna is $61 billion company (in revenue.)

The Federal Government alone, which is about one third of health spending in total, has spent just over $1 trillion dollars (that is, $1,000 billion) thus far this fiscal year, and has three months left to go.  It will thus probably spend somewhere north of $1,300 billion this year, and combined health spending in the nation will be about $4,000 billion this fiscal year.

Humana, by the way (the company they proposed to acquire) has $54 billion in annual revenue; in other words, the two combined would be about a $115 billion company.

Their revenue would amount to about three whole percent of the total, and in fact Humana has about a 1.8% (!!) profit margin and a 4.17 operating margin.  Their gross margin is about 19%.

Aetna has a 5% profit margin and a 27% gross profit margin.  In other words Aetna is the more-efficient company; Humana, the one Aetna wishes to take over, is the worse of the two.

But this belies the real issue because if you took all of Aetna's and Humana's gross profit -- that is, you paid nobody in either company anything nor did you spend anything on investment or even the light bill you'd drop the cost of medical care in the United States by...... about 1%.

Did you get that folks?  All of this strum, furor and hatred if you could completely eliminate these firms "profiteering" from the picture (oh, and they do profiteer!) would result in a cost reduction of...... one percent.

In other words, statistically zero.

But heh, it's popular to bash people like this.

Now tell me why you're not instead advocating for jailing all of the medical industry folks from the local hospital administrator to doctors to pharma companies and more?  It's not like there isn't plenty of existing law to jail them with either, because there is.

See, if you went after all of those folks for what facially appear to be rank violations of 15 USC -- Federal Law that has stood for more than 100 years -- you would drop the cost of health care to somewhere between one tenth and one fifth of what it is now.

Instead of a 1% reduction predicated on completely destroying two companies you'd get an 80% reduction which would eliminate the need for Obamacare and most medical "insurance" entirely, premiums would drop to less than your car insurance payment and thus would require no subsidies at all and federal, state and local government budgetary deficits and funding problems would all disappear.

But to do that you have to think.

It's easier to hate the big executive instead of pointing the finger where it belongs -- at the monopolists who have driven EpiPen prices from $100 to $400 while the actual cost of the drug is literal pennies.  In anything approaching an actual market where competition was both protected and those seeking to block it imprisoned as the law directs those pens would cost $20 and available over the counter.  By the way this applies to doctors, hospitals and medical device makers too including so-called "competitive" areas of the market such as dentistry, all of whom resist mightily the most-simple of requirement for a competitive and fair market (not to mention the basic requirements for a lawful and enforceable contract; offer, acceptance and performance): making it easy or even possible to know what the price will be before goods and services are provided.

PS: Socializing medicine will not fix any of this; it will simply shift all of it to the federal government which will be driven into either fiscal insolvency or cut off services to tens of millions of Americans who will then, as a consequence, die.

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The Democrat and Republican party -- both sides of the aisle -- are liars.

So are their "spokespersons" when it comes to the issues related to health care.

The most-recent component, that of Aetna deciding to exit nearly all of the ACA exchanges, is just one example.

This is what I said in 2009:

It is my opinion that we should be treating those in the health-insurance lobby, including hospitals, physicians and health-insurance providers, as co-conspirators in a racketeering scheme that effectively trades on the fear of disease and imminent bankruptcy to bamboozle and screw the population, while waving around their "hippocratic oath" - something better described as the "hypocritic oath."

Well?

The talking heads have been out claiming that Medicare and Medicaid spending has "gone down" -- some of them have claimed this on a "per-capita" basis, others just generally.

That's a lie, it's a documented lie, and yet no member of the media has challenged these bald-faced lies despite the numerical facts being available to literally anyone with no more than 30 seconds of effort.

In the most-recent Treasury Statement (which is canonically correct when it comes to government spending) this fiscal year to date Medicare and Medicaid have spent $1,034,867 (millions); that is, $1.035 trillion.  The entire government spent $2,869,374, so this amounts to more than one-third of the total, 36% to be exact.

Last year to the same point in the fiscal year these two programs consumed $950,861.

That is, this fiscal year spending increased 8.83% on a comparable period basis.

Last full fiscal year (September 2014-2015) said spending rose 9.25%.

The prior fiscal (September 2013-2014) said spending rose 6.63% and the year prior to that it rose 5.74%.

There has been no "decrease"; in point of fact it has accelerated by approximately one third in the last two years over the previous two!

This could have been determined in literally 30 seconds by any "journalist" that cared to look.

Nobody cared from either side of the political and media aisle.

This rate of acceleration will, as I have repeatedly pointed out, bankrupt the Federal Government within the next administration's term.  It will in fact exceed all current federal spending within the next 10 years.  Neither of these events will actually come to pass because you cannot have a government when you can't pay the light bill in Washington DC.

There is exactly one way to stop this from happening and that is to start prosecuting and imprisoning, right now, each and every instance of price-fixing (Sherman/Clayton), attempts to monopolize markets (Sherman/Clayton again), pricing discrimination of like kind and quantity for goods (forbidden under Robinson-Patman) and failure or even refusal to provide a price before services and goods are rendered (various consumer protection laws within the states, as well as unfair business practice regulations within the FTC), including such facially-outrageous practices as setting price based on the GDP or "ability to pay" (extort) within a given nation while enforcing same through the passage of laws that are facially unlawful as said practices violate 15 USC.

Until and unless that action is taken the outcome is certain.  Worse, by sitting on our butts as a body politic for the last seven years we have doubled the economic damage we must absorb when, not if, this action occurs and if we wait for the inevitable collapse in a few years instead of dealing with it now the economic damage that must be absorbed will have doubled again.

This is the issue that will first "get us" and yet it is just one of literally thousands of examples where the Rule of Law is ignored with impunity by not only politically-connected people but also those in the corporate world who have economic power.

There is simply no point to either entrepreneurship or for that matter making any sort of effort at all beyond enjoying what little time we have left in this nation under what we consider "reasonable and ordinary" economic and social conditions until and unless the people of this nation rise and demand that this crap stop, for if we do not, as a body politic, our government and social order will collapse.

This is a matter of arithmetic, not politics.

Since you won't get off your ass politically and are far more interested in whether Ellen told a racist joke than whether you've been screwed blind by both sides of the political aisle for decades, you ought to read this article -- because when, not if, this part of our economy collapses (and it will in just a few years) if you're dependent on the "health" system you're going to die, and it's not going to be in a pleasant way either.  Your literal only other option is to not need anything from said part of our economy -- and you're running out of time to make that change.

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I was sent this by one of the authors in my email.

It's science-loaded -- and met with extreme resistance to publication.

Note carefully that the cost to the person who is given this path of treatment for metabolic syndrome (which incidentally either is associated with or leads to Type II diabetes!) is zero.

There were no drugs involved.  There is thus no sale of drugs involved, and no profit for the medical industry; indeed, study participants reduced their pre-existing use of pharmaceuticals.

This study was fairly large in size (n = 372) and showed incredible improvement not only in body mass but also in all of the major metabolic markers, including triglyceride levels, increase in HDL, decrease in LDL, lowered HbA1c and more.

What was the maintenance diet?

After reaching their target weight, a high-fat diet was used for weight maintenance. The use of a high-fat diet was predicated on the high prevalence of insulin resistance in the patient population and favourable changes in multiple health indicators in randomised trials of up to 2 years’ duration in such populations.[3] Foods consumed on the maintenance diet included beef, poultry, fish, eggs, oils, moderate amounts of hard cheeses, and small amounts of nuts, nut butters, seeds and berries.

In other words high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate.

Their "weight loss" diet consisted of restriction of both refined carbs and dietary fat, but I suspect the latter was not only unnecessary it limited performance in the weight-loss arena.

Nonetheless the results are impressive; average body mass loss was 12.8kg, BMI was down nearly five points (!!) and metabolic syndrome declined from 57.6% of participants to 19.4%!

Folks, that's two out of three of the study participants who began with metabolic syndrome no longer have it.

Oh, and it gets better.  PHQ-9 showed a commensurate reduction with metabolic syndrome.  For the unaware PHQ-9 is a DSM score measuring depression.  That's right -- approximately two out of three of those who scored high for clinical depression at the introduction of the study no longer were depressed either!

For those who say that LDL will "inevitably" go up if you eat high fat, the study says otherwise.  LDL decreased as did triglyceride levels.  Triglycerides decreased by nearly one third and LDL-C decreased by roughly 15%.

In point of fact the study almost-certainly understated the health impact.  Why?

Consistent with the considerable weight loss, participants at S1 showed marked improvements in their cardiometabolic profile. For example, blood triglyceride concentrations, measured among 119 participants at S1, decreased by 34%, probably a reflection of the reduced intake of starches and sugars.[3] Among the 18 individuals with T2DM in the LI at S1, there was a mean decrease in HbA1c of 0.5%, a figure that fails to account for any reductions in pharmacotherapy, which were not documented in this report. The extent of the changes in cardiometabolic indicators that were measured in this study are therefore a conservative estimate of the health improvements, as participants experienced reductions in the use of insulin and oral hypoglycaemic, antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering agents. To the intervention participants, the reductions in pharmacotherapy were an empowering ‘side-effect’ of the intervention, and for the clinicians administering the intervention, use of this therapeutic approach improved control of hyperglycaemia, hypertension and dyslipidaemias.

Read that bolded section until it sinks in -- the study participants reduced (or eliminated) already-existing pharmaceutical consumption at the same time they improved their metabolic markers and health because said drug therapy no longer "appropriate" (in light of symptoms) at its former rate of use.

In other words the study participants consumption of drugs was not a function of their body's inherent or progressive disorder; rather, the disorder they formerly experienced was caused by their elective choices when it came to what they ate, and when they changed that the "need" for said drugs was either reduced or eliminated.

They stopped poisoning their bodies and thus needed less (or no) "antidote", in short.

Wake up folks; the evidence is right here under your nose: Stop poisoning your body and it will heal.  As a result you will either need fewer or no pharmaceuticals if you do so, which means you never actually needed them at the level you're consuming them now -- and maybe not at all -- in the first place.

What to eat (and NOT)? Here's the list again, in case you missed it, and here is how you can personally measure your metabolic improvement at very little cost, in private, with nobody but you having the data.

You're welcome.

PS: As a "side effect" your pants will probably fall off.

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2016-08-12 00:00 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 363 references
 

What utter and complete crap.

'Carbohydrates can definitely aid your weight loss goals - you just need to know which ones to eat!' explains nutritionist Dr. Michelle Braude, founder of The Food Effect www.thefoodeffect.co.uk.

'Without carbohydrates, your body will hold on to excess fat because it’s lacking its main energy supply.'

'In actual fact, cutting out carbs can slow down your metabolism and the process of fat burning - preventing you from reaching your goal weight. Your body needs them to function properly.

'Don’t try cut out all starchy foods - it’s the biggest diet disaster and myth!'   

Total and complete crap.

First, I challenge this fraud to identify one carbohydrate that is essential for human health.  Just one.

You can't, because there aren't any.  There are no carbohydrate-exclusive sources of nutrients.  Zip, zero, nada, none.

Second, there are only three sources of nutrition: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

That's it.

Your body will not -- because it cannot -- "hold onto" fats if you restrict carbs.  What this quack is talking about is restricting total caloric intake to the point of starvation, but nobody in their right mind does that voluntarily.

'Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy for fuelling all exercise, including cardio and resistance training. Cut carbs and your energy levels will drop!

Argue with the clock.

The one right over the finish line.

'When you reduce your carb intake, you may indeed notice how quickly – as if by magic - the weight falls off,' says Dr. Braude.

'While everyone loves seeing the numbers on the scale go down and this may give you a great boost, it will soon plateau.

It stops -- not "plateaus" -- when you reach your natural weight.  A weight at which, incidentally, your gut is gone.  (If it's not gone I'll lay a bet you're cheating with fast and/or starchy carbs.)

'Once your body realises there’s a food shortage it goes into “starvation mode” and your metabolism will automatically begin to slow down in order to expend as little energy as possible. 

'But when you do begin eating carbs again (because such plans are unsustainable for the long-term), you pile on the pounds even more than normal as your whole metabolism and body’s ability to burn carbs has slowed down.' 

Unsustainable eh?  So when will that be evident to me?

It's only been roughly five years so far, and it seems rather sustainable to me.  Not only did my metabolism not slow down to "expend as little energy as possible" it has improved.

I am faster and better now in my athletic performance than I was 30 years ago and yet I eat virtually zero carbohydrate (typically under 50g/day) and often drop to very close to zero for several days before a race -- on purpose.

The other problem this crank has is that her "chart" of carbs ignores a few really important things.  See, glycemic index is indeed important but it is often misleading.  Far more-important is glycemic load.  Why?  Because a food that is dense (e.g. potatoes) may be moderate in glycemic index but due to its mass per unit of volume it's glycemic load is comparatively very high.

I also noted what was missing entirely from her "chart" -- leafy green things like broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc.  Not only are they high in various nutrients they are low in both glycemic load and index, which makes them what your carbohydrate intake should consist of.

To say that restricting carbs means cutting out all carbs (as this woman claims) is utterly false.  What it in fact means is consuming your carbs in the form of said nutrient-dense but calorically-poor and thus extremely low glycemic load carbohydrates -- most of which are green vegetables of some sort (e.g. broccoli, spinach, etc)  And by the way if you eat your carbs exclusively from those sources (1) it's very hard to consume more than 50g of carbs a day, (2) it's essentially impossible to get material glycemic load out of your carb consumption and (3) you will get plenty of dietary fiber at the same time, so those who claim that such a diet is "poor" in fiber are lying about that as well.

Oh, and as for "wholewheat bread"?  It's not materially different in glycemic load than white nor is it materially lower in glycemic index either.  In other words that crazy "doctor" is dead wrong.

Further, while brown rice is better than white, it's actually higher in glycemic load than shortbread, graham crackers or even soda crackers!  Further, watermelon, while high in glycemic index (and thus on her "bad" list) is quite low in glycemic load because of it's low mass ex-water, being about one quarter of the impact of said brown rice!

Look, what this woman says about temporarily feeling like crap when you cut carbs out of your diet is true.  You will.

Then again it's also true that if you drink a lot and stop you will feel like crap too.

It's called withdrawal (or in the extreme case DTs!) and it sucks.

But if you undergo withdrawal when you stop consuming something, and it abates after a while then that's a pretty-reliable indication that you were addicted to said substance.  Now maybe that substance is very bad for you and maybe it's not quite so bad but let's call it what it is instead of BeeEssing people.

You're an addict.

Got it?

Good.

Oh, and cut the crap about low-carb eating being "unsustainable" and "horrible" for athletic performance.

You only need one counter-example to falsify such a claim and I'm sitting right here sneering back at your BeeEss.

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Where are the political candidates on this issue?

After a Virginia toddler was bitten by a copperhead snake in his backyard last week, he was rushed to the hospital for life-saving medication -- but now his parents are facing tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

....

At Inova Fairfax, Auden endured 16 vials of anti-venom treatment at $3,000 each -- costing close to $50,000. That sum doesn't include his emergency room visit, medical transfer between hospitals and the three days he spent in the intensive care unit because of an allergic reaction to the treatments.

Three thousand dollars a vial?

Really?

How does something like this wind up costing $3,000?  I'll tell you how: Blatantly anti-competitive behavior that instead of being prosecuted (and is illegal, I remind you, under 15 USC) it is instead not only allowed but encouraged.

If you think this is limited to scorpion antivenom that is billed out at tens of thousands a dose when given in Arizona while the actual factory is in Mexico and it can be bought over-the-counter there for $100, or a case like this, with your excuse being that these sorts of events are "relatively" rare I will point you to this chart.

It's for glucose meters and their required test strips.  If you're diabetic you use the strips multiple times daily -- and there are a hell of a lot of diabetics in this country.

Note something very important: The strip price varies wildly, from about 22 cents/strip to $2 each.

All of these devices are required to meet accuracy requirements in order to be sold in the United States.  So how does the "market" manage to support a price range of 10x from the lower to the upper end when it comes to operating costs, since virtually all of the units themselves are right around $20?

It's not very hard to figure out -- as long as so-called "insurance" is paying for it you don't care about the price of the strips you use and thus whatever your "insurance company" or "doctor" hands you will be what you use.

Of course the manufacturer would like to sell you strips for $2 instead of 22 cents, especially when you're using many of them a day!

But were there no cost-hiding games, no "incentives", and you had to fork it up there would be no $2 strips nor any meters that required them because nobody would buy them.

If we prosecuted all of these anti-competitive acts, which I remind you is something we can do today since there is an entire US Title (15 USC) that bears on same, this area of cost in the medical system just like that when it comes to antivenom and similar would plunge in price to anywhere from 1/4 to 1/9th of what it costs today.

This, and only this, is what is destroying our federal, state, local and pension budgets.  It is the issue that will destroy our nation's way of life and standard of living within the next five years if it is not addressed now.

We were told that Obamacare would "fix" this.  That was a lie; several years into Obamacare Medicare and Medicaid are still expanding at roughly 9% a year while tax receipts government-wide are rising at about 1.7%!

There is exactly zero real policy attention being paid to the issue by any of the current office-holders or announced candidates -- whether they be Democrat, Republican or any other party, including the so-called "Libertarians."

That is occurring because you, dear reader, are not demanding that it change -- here, now, today, and without excuse.

As a consequence please do enjoy the next few years of "relative normalcy" in the United States because that is about to end, and you will not recognize, nor like, what is going to happen as a direct and proximate result of your refusal to focus on the issue that faces us as a nation when it comes to economics, politics and fiscal health.

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