The whole trouble with this country today...

... boils down to insurance.

How do you figure that?

Being insured relieves peoople of responsibility for their actions and the expectancy of collecting insurance leads to victimhood.

And what's wrong with victimhood? Talk show hosts are making a fortune from it. Not to mention lawyers and journalists.

Insurance. Take medical insurance, now called health insurance or health maintenance.

(I just love euphenisms.)

Shut up.

In the guise of immortality, you pay an exhorbitant fee, or your employer does, to keep the medical establishment wealthy and self-important. Seemingly for free, you can go into the doctor for a hangnail or reassurance that you are healthy.

You never see the bill so you don't know if the doctor is charging more than is reasonable for a 15 minute visit. If the doctor is billing $90 for that 15 minutes, would you likely make an appointment for a hangnail? If he bills out $800 for a physical, would you likely skip it? No. It's covered by nsurance, and you are entitled to it, so you have a physical just to reassure yourself that you are healthy. The doctor tells you to cut down on fats, or to lose weight, or exercise more just so you'll think that you are a part of taking care of your health. He mouths this advice without even knowing whether your diet consists of a lot of fats or whether you exercise. He is expected to come up with some piece of advice, and these are some of the current accepted health problems facing Americans today Like street crime, juvenile violence...

Whatever. Everybody has their own pet issue to view with alarm.

Get on with it. I can't wait to hear why insurance is the root of all evil.

Right. You go through this exercise of health maintenance without regard for the cost of visiting the doctor and the lab tests. Every woman over 40 should have an annual mammeogram. What for? To detect breast cancer early so medical science can run up a huge bill curing her cancer and killing her off with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy?. By the time she is cured, she is s so debilitated she can't work, therefore has no medical insurance and can't pay for further medical treatment. Meanwhile she has been maimed, disfigured, poisoned. Her health as been ruined and if she lives after all that...

Come on. Cancer can be cured if caught early...

Wishful thinking. Fantasy. At worst, AMA scam.

Get back to the root of all evil.

Ah yes, where does insurance come in? The insurance companies already know the percentage of their subscribers for whom they will have to pay large medical expenses. They protect themselves with caps and treatment restrictions. They have to pay off once in awhile like a slot machine pays off once in awhile to keep the suckers feeding it nickles. The slot machine still rakes in much more than it pays off.

I love your mixted metaphors. Medical science and gambling.

Aha! You re begining to see my point.

Gambling and medical science? The mafia and AMA? Really.

Well?

Stop digressing. Back to the insurance subject.

The point is, there s no control over costs. If a patient were responsible for paying a doctor's bill, the patient might question first what the fee was and decide whether the visit was worth the fee, or shop for another doctor. With insurance, the doctors and the insurance companies agree what a "reasonable" fee is and go from there. Price fixing, which is theoretically illegal. But it keeps everybody in business. And that's the key. Business. The doctor is earning a living, which is legitimate except that he pretends he's a "caretaker". Just watch tv hospital shows. Money isn't dramatized. Saving lives is. As dramatically as possible (or impossible). Except on the tv fantasy, the penurious street urchin shot down in a drug deal gone sour is dramatically saved by the intense young emergency room doctor. Where does the bill go?

The root of all evil?

Ah yes. Back to insurance. Insurance covers it.

I'm not responsible.

I can drive aggessively and damage someone's property. Insurance covers it.

I can neglect to shovel the snow off my sidewalk because my liability insurance covers the postman's broken leg.

We've gotten so used to insurance that even the government can't reform health care because insurance obfuscates the real problem.

No more than you have.

Arggggh!