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Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Health Reform]

Then stop listening to your government and start listening to facts.

Among them are the fact that the so-called "food pyramid" was never created by scientific inquiry -- rather, it was a combination of agribusiness influence and outright government corruption.

The amount of brainwashing that goes on in our society today in this regard is hideous and infests virtually everyone.  We "learn" from an early age that fats, especially animal fats, are bad for us while all that is easy and cheap to make, especially cereals, breads and similar, are good.  That "margarine" and other "lighter" (but engineered) oils are good, what they displace (e.g. butter) is bad.  That the word "light" on a label means that it's better for you than the same product without the "light."

So what has following this advice gotten us?  Record obesity and Type II diabetes, along with heart attacks, strokes and massive and outrageous morbidity.

You government has been literally killing you.

The truth?  God knows better than man.  Man corrupts any time it's profitable, and boy is it profitable when it comes to this sort of thing.

What do you want to eat?  What you ate before your government was around -- or any government was around.  

That was not engineered food.

It was foods such as eggs, meats, fishes and unprocessed plants, subject only to being cooked.  

Fat in food does not make you fat.  Carbohydrates, especially easily-digested carbohydrates, make you fat because they are released quickly in the digestive system and when your body's glycogen reserves, which are modest in size, are filled the body must convert the remaining carbohydrate to fat and store it in order to avoid driving your blood sugar through the roof.

Worse, the insulin response that is necessary to this process (and to maintenance of your blood sugar level within the normal range) results in you feeling hungry when the process of carbohydrate-to-fat conversion nears completion.  The hunger response is not linked to your glycogen reserve level, something that anyone who eats low-carb (and thus has low glycogen reserves all the time) can tell you is a fact.

Unfortunately if you eat when your glycogen stores are high you will immediately store all of what you take in to fat rather than using it for energy.

Now add to this how one makes a particular thing (e.g. salad dressing, etc) "light" -- you remove fats and replace them with carbs.  The "light" version will actually make you hungrier and thus fatter, exactly the opposite of what you would expect!

The other problem is that everyone has claimed that saturated fats are "unhealthy" and the opposite are "good."  But there is no scientific basis for this; "observational" studies are worse than useless as they identify "things" that are simply not true because they fail to isolate the causative factors.  For example, you could say by observational study that water causes cancer because everyone who has cancer has consumed water.  This would obviously be nonsense, but it is exactly what observational "studies" offer up all the time!

What's worse is that the other half of the claim on fats in the diet, that polyunsaturated fats are "healthy" (while the other kind are bad) may be literally killing you.  Most of those oils are very high in Omega-6 fatty acids -- indeed, processed seed and vegetable oils are pretty-much where it all comes from in our diet, and none of that is natural; without industrial processing these "foods" would not exist.  The really bad news is that systemic inflammation is caused by too much Omega-6 in the body, and the body's response to inflammation is to try to "fix it" under the assumption that the reason for the inflammation is some sort of intruder that doesn't belong in the body at all.  That's great if the cause of the inflammation is a thorn you stepped on that is causing an infection.  It will kill you if the inflammation is in your coronary arteries because you're eating crap that was engineered by man and our body responds to it as if we were eating a poison!

Finally, cholesterol.  There are literal billions of dollars made every year prescribing statins to "lower" cholesterol.  The problem is that cholesterol is necessary for life, that it is synthesized by the body and that most forms of it in the body are either benign or helpful.  Worse is that the standard three-panel test for cholesterol (LDL, HDL and Triglycerides) is worthless because the triglyceride number is not directly measured and only one subtype of LDL is harmful in the body!  The only meaningful test is one that is much more expensive and thus rarely used.  At the same time statins have a litany of side effects that are in and of themselves dangerous, including cognitive impairment and muscle damage, some of which can be permanent.

As an aside counting calories is virtually guaranteed to fail.  The reason is that 3,000 calories are, more or less, one pound of body mass.  That is, 30,000 calories are 10lbs.  If you're off by as little as 100 calories a day you will gain or lose 10lbs a year.  In 10 years that's 100 lbs and that's enough excess to call anyone fat.  

100 calories is about the caloric content of one banana, less than one 12oz can of sugared soda (that's ~140 calories) or ten potato chips.  Can you possibly count your caloric intake in a day closely enough to be less than 100 calories "off"?  No.

But your body can do this on its own if you don't destroy its hunger/satiation balance.  Just as a normal human body has one teaspoon of sugar circulating in the blood stream at any given time (yes, just one teaspoon), an amount impossible to accurately regulate manually yet one that in a healthy person is automatically maintained the desire to eat or not is also automatically regulated and will maintain caloric balance on its own if you don't destroy it.

Stop listening to the crooks that have less interest in your health and more interest in selling you cheap engineered products that are very profitable for them even though they are in fact slow poisons.

The simple way of looking at this is that if whatever you're about to stick in the pie hole couldn't exist without modern chemistry you're at risk of consuming something manufactured without regard to your health and safety, but rather only with regard to someone's profit.

Am I talking out my ass?  Well, you tell me -- on the left is what I was eating the so-called "food pyramid."  On the right is what I have looked like for the last two years -- roughly 60lbs lighter.

I pay no particular concern to trying to "meter" calories yet my body mass has been +/- 5lbs for the last two years with zero excursions beyond that boundary.

That means that I have managed to maintain my caloric intake to within a tolerance of 50 calories a day (at the outside) and in fact it's probably closer to 20 calories -- or an amount that sums to roughly two potato chips or a couple of broccoli crowns on a daily basis.

That's obviously impossible by actually trying to count intake, as to be that accurate I'd have to have a scale with me at all times, eat only the prescribed amounts and have effectively zero error, no "snacks" or other impulse consumption and similar.  Outside of a laboratory where one is confined 24x7 that's impossible.

You can choose to not be a fat bastard, no matter where you are now.  

The way you choose isn't a function of how much you exercise, although you might find, as I have, that exercise is actually enjoyable, especially when you're not 50+ lbs overweight.

Your body mass is a function of what you eat and whether you listen to those who are effectively trying to slowly poison you for profit -- or not.

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Health care "reform" is the current hot-button, with the Obama administration now talking about a "public" health-insurance system to "keep the system honest."

Uh huh.

Look folks, you want to know why we have the health cost problems we have?  I'll lay it out for you - in a way you can't refute or argue with:

  1. There are no published prices.  In no other line of work is it legal to do this.  Nowhere.  You can't sell someone a hot dog and tell them after they eat it what it just cost them.  You can't hire a lawyer and have him tell you "I'll tell you what this will cost when we're done."  You can't hire an electrician and have him tell you "I'll make up a bill when I'm done."  In every line of work except health care, this is illegal.  There are even laws for "major" consumer work (e.g. contracting, auto repair, etc) where they must give you a binding written estimate before beginning work
  2. Robinson-Patman makes it illegal to discriminate against like kind purchasers of goods in pricing decisions when the effect of doing so is to lessen competition.  While it does not apply to services, it darn well should.  Whether you are paying privately, you have private insurance or you're a Medicare patient if you need to have a breast reconstructed due to cancer the complexity of the procedure does not change.  Yet it is a fact that the privately-billed amounts for uninsured ("rack rate") patients are often ten times or more that billed to insurers or Medicare.  Try charging a cash purchaser 10x more for a TV than someone who finances that TV on your in-house credit facility and you would be shut down and thrown in jail.

#1 and #2 exist because of explicit efforts by the "health care" industry to exempt themselves from the laws that every other merchant of every other good and service in the United States must adhere to.

To put this bluntly the medical industry has intentionally put forward a system by which it can screw you with impunity, obtaining exemptions from the laws that cover every other area of commerce, thereby effectively forcing you to buy overpriced services you do not want to purchase lest an unexpected life event literally wipe you out.

This is an extortion racket and absolutely none of the proposals being put forward have done a thing to address any of it.

If we want to fix the health care pricing problem we can do so.  It isn't very difficult.  Here's the prescription:

  1. All health care providers must publish a price list for the procedures and services they offer and the patient must be presented, when possible, with that information before services are performed or goods (e.g. medication) supplied, consenting to the charge in each case.  All normal anti-trust provisions with regards to collusion between providers apply.  If a physician doesn't like "flat-rate" billing they're free to publish a per-hour fee much like an attorney.
  2. No physician or group may discriminate based on the form of any external payment.  If they want to internally finance procedure(s), that's fine - they can charge interest or discount for that, or whatever.  But for anyone who pays via any other means (including the government) money is money - the price may not change based on the source of payment.
  3. No event caused by your presence in a medical facility or the actions of an employee there can come with cost to you.  It is absolutely common for people to be billed for treatment of MRSA infections acquired in the hospital!  That is equivalent to a mechanic that through incompetence or even malice cuts a wiring harness in your car while it is on the rack having the oil changed and then tries to charge you to fix what he broke!

Now clearly #1 doesn't work so well when you're unconscious due to a heart attack or just wrecking your car.  But setting your broken leg or performing a cardiac procedure is something that's done for people who aren't incapacitated too, so guess what - the price is already published and thus the charge known.

This prevents the common practice of hospitals gouging private payers, it exposes prices and brings competition to pricing, and allows the free market to work.  It ends the preference for "insurance" on routine procedures.

Next up, if you want to sell "insurance" in a market you must sell it to all persons in that market, defined as an area of at least one US State.  You may discriminate in your pricing only based on age and gender - nothing else.  If you sell that "insurance" product to any person you must sell to all persons within that state at the same price, and you must publish all your plans and offering prices.

"Insurance" products that are not true insurance products may not discriminate on reimbursement dependent on where the service is performed.  The practice of requiring "in network" doctors or even hospitals lest you get "rejected" must end.  In addition pre-qualification for any bona-fide non-elective procedure must be absolutely barred as a matter of law.

Finally, all providers of "insurance" must sell a true insurance product.  Common HMO/PPO plans are not insurance - they are pre-paid medical care.  Insurance is the purchase of a contract to cover damage caused by an unexpected event.  Everyone needs health care of some form.  Those who want to sell "pre-paid health plans" may do so, but they must also offer true insurance (e.g. covering ONLY hospitalization and related events, etc.)

These changes instantly destroy the connection between health "insurance" and employment.  If you leave your job you have the absolute right to keep your health plan by continuing to pay for it.  If you don't like your health plan or move out of the state you can buy any plan offered to anyone in your state, at your choice, for the same price they pay.

All mandates to provide specific services and products under "insurance" are federally preempted.  Women should be able to choose a health plan that does not include abortion (and/or pre-natal!) services, for example, if they would never use either.  Some women (e.g. those who have chosen to have a tubal ligation!) can't use these services, yet they often wind up paying for them in their premiums.  Men should be able to choose a plan that does not cover things like Viagra - or, if they choose, perhaps they do want "ED" coverage.

If the health lobby won't cut out the nonsense and work for this sort of change to the system then I am forced to advocate for full nationalization of the entire health system, effectively placing everyone under Medicare.  This will lead to forced rationing due to cost but that's happening already, and such a forced system will put a stop to the discriminatory practices of insurers, physicians, hospitals and others in the medical field who commonly bill private parties ten times what health "insurance" plans or Medicare pay for the very same procedure, while playing "let's deny coverage any time we think we can get away with it."

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."

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