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COMMENTS ON HEALTH CARE
Karl Arnold Belser
25 July 2017




I received the hospital cost statement for my one-day stay at the Kaiser emergency room. The cost was $10,,500, I had to pay $75 and the rest was billed to Medicare. I was shocked.

I am aware that Obama Care is failing due to excessive costs and I wondered how bad the situation was compared to other countries. A Mother Jones article shows that the US spends about twice as much per person for grossly inferior care. Further the Center for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) report projects that cost of US health care will increase at a rapid rate compared to other countries. Health care will consume about 20% of US GDP by 2025.  I note that  today 40% of GDP is spent on Social Security and 10% is spent on Disability. These percentages seem high and I know that they will increase because of the baby bloomers retiring.

The US has apparently become a welfare state that it really cannot afford. The US congress is having no success in reining in welfare spending. The public is outraged because it wants to get as much as possible for doing nothing. This is simply the tyranny of the majority.

I am not optimistic that the US government will be able to solve its out-of-control spending problem because apparently some congress people think that humanitarianism and social justice are more important that financial solvency. But if the nation goes  bankrupt the welfare state will stop immediately.

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As a sidebar, I know that Uruguay had an advanced welfare state funded by a cattle monopoly. About 1970 the bottom dropped out of the cattle market and Uruguay could not pay for social welfare, which in turn, resulted in nation wide social unrest. The result of the unrest was a 20 year dictatorship. This dictatorship ended voluntarily when the nation got rid of much of the social welfare expenses, but it took a generation to do it.

I wonder if the US is just another Uruguay waiting to happen?

I just read the book The Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert Gordon in which he points out that most of the growth in standard of living was implemented between 1870 and 1940. Prosperity expanded until about 1970 after which wage growth  of the bottom 90 percent of the US population in inflation adjusted dollars did not happen. By 2015 the cost of education had increased by a factor of 10 with actually poorer results. Health care costs also increase dramatically with again a decrease in quality outcomes compared to other countries. The cost of government has increased and over regulation has made it difficult to form new businesses. The rich however became even richer. The result is that there are serious headwinds to economic growth in the future.. Because the rich, that is government employees, doctors,, lawyers and unionized teachers control the government it is doubtful that any change can be achieved. The US is seeing this difficulty today in the attempts to bring the excessive and rising cost of medicine under control. After all the "people" want everything they can get for free. this is democracy today?

I think that the US is in the process of losing its way. Western Civilization is not taught as a requirement in universities and people in general feel entitled. Because of these facts I don't think that there ever will be a democratic solution.

I wonder if the only way out is by dictatorship, like what happened in Uruguay.
 
Last updated August 25, 2017
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